‘The flag is not coming down under any circumstance…’
(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) The Camping World CEO, who is in a dispute with the city of Statesville, NC, over the size of his American flag, said regulations to limit flag size—except to protect public safety—are unconstitutional.
Marcus Lemonis vowed to fight Statesville in court after the city filed an injunction to force Camping World’s Gander RV Store in North Carolina to remove its 3,200 square foot flag.
His attorneys filed a court brief in Iredell County, arguing that the U.S. and North Carolina constitutions, as well as state law, prevent government officials “from placing arbitrary or unreasonable restrictions on city’s abilities to fly the flag,” the Associated Press reported.
North Carolina state law allows limits to flag size to “protect public health, safety and welfare.”
The court filing said Statesville’s ordinance, which caps flag size at 25-by-40 feet, “serves no legitimate safety purpose.”
Lemonis spoke to employees at the Statesville Gander RV on May 30.
“The flag is not coming down under any circumstance,” he said as employees cheered.
He promised he would head to prison before removing the flag.
He said he hopes to defeat, at the federal level, all arbitrary or unreasonable restrictions on American flag size.
The American flag “represents the fundamental values—freedom, courage and equality before the law—that unite all Americans and transcend party politics,” said the company’s court filing.
The court filing indicated that Lemonis will litigate the case on First Amendment grounds.
“In keeping with this tradition, The U.S. Supreme Court has long recognized that the act of flying the flag is a form a political expression protected by the First Amendment,” it said.
Lemonis may declare victory before reaching trial.
In order to avoid what would likely be a losing court battle, Statesville Mayor Costi Kutteh asked the city council to amend the ordinance and let Gander RV fly the flag.
“In speaking with city council members, I believe this is the direction the majority of council would like to go at this time,” Kutteh said.