Federal appeals court rules out bologna sandwiches for homeless

The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that St. Louis did not restrict the First Amendment rights of church leaders who handed out bologna sandwiches to homeless people. A local law forbids distribution by temporary establishments of potentially hazardous food including meat, eggs and fish. “…a three-judge panel ruled government regulation of ‘inherently expressive’ conduct – such as distributing sandwiches to the homeless – does not necessarily violate the First Amendment if the regulation furthers ‘an important or substantial government interest’ unrelated to the suppression of free expression.” (Courthouse News Service, October 12, 2022, by Rox Laird)

The Eighth Circuit said the restriction was necessary to prevent the spread of disease. The two plaintiffs plan to appeal the ruling and are continuing to distribute the sandwiches contending that the government has a huge burden in proving in this case that it is essential to limit free expression and religious exercise. (The Washington Times, October 13, 2022, by Mark A. Kellner)