[The following case centered on an ethnic slur and this post therefore includes two references to that slur.]
Reaffirming the First Amendment’s virtual prohibition on viewpoint discrimination, the Second Circuit recently held that New York state could not prohibit a vendor from participating in public lunch program simply because its name and menu featured ethnic slurs.
The case emerged from a dispute over access to the publicly owned Empire State Plaza in Albany, New York. After years of contracting with a single vendor to supply food for a daily lunch program hosted in the plaza, New York’s Office of General Services (OGS) chose instead to feature a rotating line-up of food trucks—similar to Civic Center Eats program in Denver’s Civic Center Park—subject to a permitting regime. Plaintiff Wandering Dago, Inc. (“WD”), which operates a food truck with the same name, applied to OGS for a vending permit. Though the application proceeded normally at first, when OGS officials realized the term Continue Reading Offensive Name Not a Constitutional Reason to Ban Food Truck from Public Lunch Programs, Says Second Circuit