Supreme Court Offers Key Victory to Day Laborers

A lower court's ruling--which says that day laborers have a constitutional right to seek work in public--will stand.

By Julianne Hing Feb 23, 2012

Day laborers won a key victory this week when the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by the California city of Redondo Beach over the city’s anti-day-laborer ordinance. In so doing, the Supreme Court let stand a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that ruled that prohibiting day laborers from seeking work in the way that Redondo Beach’s ordinance did violated those workers’ free speech rights. "Today’s denial of Supreme Court review is a singular victory for the First Amendment and its protection of free speech by all persons; the Amendment protects day laborers as well as the wealthiest corporation," Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, which fought the ordinance, said on Tuesday. Saenz said that the ruling should serve as a warning to other states and localities which have passed laws barring day laborers from soliciting work.