Judge denies City of Charleston’s request to reconsider ruling on tour guide licensing

Local News

CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) – A judge has denied the City of Charleston’s request to reconsider a ruling that relaxed tour guide licensing rules.

 Judge David Norton on Monday affirmed his August 2018 decision protecting the First Amendment rights of Charleston tour guides.

The city’s tour guide licensing law was challenged by three people who were unable to pass a series of exams – oral and written – to become local tour guides in January of 2016.

The lawsuit alleges the law amounted to an unconstitutional license to speak in violation of the First Amendment.

Attorneys for the City of Charleston submitted the request in September, asking the court to reconsider its ruling.

Judge Norton denied the request, saying the City’s motion “is nothing more than a request that this court change its mind, which this court declines to do.” He went on to say, “the City has presented no newly discovered evidence nor has it uncovered any manifest errors of law.”

“The First Amendment protects your right to speak for a living, whether you’re a journalist, a stand-up comedian or a tour guide,” said IJ attorney Arif Panju, who represents the plaintiffs. “That principle was vindicated following a weeklong trial, it was vindicated once again today, and we look forward to yet more victories for occupational speech in the months and years to come.”

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