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Pennsylvania man takes local officials to court for First Amendment right infringement over front yard sign

A Pennsylvania man is taking Olyphant Borough officials to court after a sign he erected on his property was deemed illegal, allegedly infringing on his First Amendment right.

As a Marine veteran, Dave Bliler, his attorney said, understands how important it is to express one’s criticism of the government as it is a foundation of American values that soldiers have died to protect.

After growing frustrated with local government officials over the past several years, Bliler and his family wanted to speak out by erecting a four-by-eight-foot sign in front of their house.

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The sign read, “F— the Government.”

But borough officials would not let that stand. Olyphant Borough officials sent a notice to the Bliler family informing them they were in violation of the borough’s sign ordinance.

The Blilers were told if they did not take the sign down, they would be taken to court and could be fined $500 for each day if a judge finds they are in violation of the sign ordinance.

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Bliler Family

The family also claims they were targeted by the local government, as other homes in the neighborhood have what appear to be signs that did not receive a permit to post.

The borough only permits residents to have one sign on their property, which cannot be larger than six square feet, and must be submitted to the borough for approval.

“That’s a large political sign for a candidate or party or a religious sign — those would all be unlawful under this ordinance and that’s a violation of the First Amendment,” attorney Eric Sell with the Center for American Liberty, which represents the Bliler family, said.

Residents are also required to pay $40 to erect the sign and must wait for an unspecified amount of time for the government to review and approve the sign permit.

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courtroom and gavel

While residents are required to go through this process, the borough is not subject to the ordinance and is permitted to post as many signs as it wants.

According to Sell, the Bliler family is taking the borough to court because they feel the ordinance infringes on their freedom of speech.

The Center for American Liberty said in a press release that government officials must be held accountable, and they cannot restrict speech just because they are critical of the government.

The Olyphant Borough manager did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

Sell said the lawsuit was filed in the Middle District of Pennsylvania on Tuesday, adding that he had not heard back from borough officials as of Wednesday afternoon. It is unclear whether the borough will fight the issue in court or revise the ordinance.

Sell also said the Bliler family took the sign down, and it is sitting in their garage.

“This ordinance is very legally significant because it completely exempts the borough from the ordinance,” Sell said. “They can put any sign they want up, it can be on any topic they want, they can put as many of them as they want up. They can be on political issues, on any kind of ideological issues, yet they’re limiting residents from putting up signs on their own private property.

“It’s very, very concerning that a government would do this.”

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