Becker & Poliakoff

Guns, God, and Gab – A Constitutional Analysis with Jay Roberts, Esq.

Guns, God, and Gab – A Constitutional Analysis with Jay Roberts, Esq.

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In today’s episode, Becker Shareholder Jay Roberts, who represents community associations and developers with respect to all aspects of creating and operating planned community developments throughout Northwest Florida, sits down with Donna DiMaggio Berger to discuss two thought-provoking questions:

  1. Should commonly accepted rules regarding signs, flags, and holiday decorations be considered unenforceable because they potentially infringe upon constitutional rights?
  2. Conversely, in a community association context, do residents’ constitutional rights to free speech, freedom of assembly, and the right to bear arms lose their applicability if restricting these freedoms serves the greater good?

To shed light on the topic, they will delve into the 1945 US Supreme Court landmark case of Shelley v. Kraemer as well as several recent US Supreme Court cases relating to the Second Amendment. This case established the framework for determining whether private covenants violate the equal protections clause of the 14th amendment. The pivotal question revolves around whether a mandatory community association can enforce specific private covenants and restrictions, which greatly depends on whether the association is considered a state actor.

Donna and Jay will explore various scenarios, such as whether individuals living in mandatory community associations have an unrestricted right to display political signs on their property, express their opinions online, conduct religious services in the clubhouse, or bring firearms to board or membership meetings.

Conversation highlights include:

  • Which of the amendments in the U.S. Bill of Rights are most commonly raised as a defense in association disputes.
  • The definition of a state actor and whether a condominium, cooperative, or homeowners’ association qualifies as one.
  • Whether a Board of Directors with rule-making authority may prohibit political signs, for sale signs, contractor, and other types of signs.
  • Which flags are protected under Florida law.
  • How speech at board or membership meetings may be regulated and whether resident civility codes and board member codes of conduct create a reasonable communication framework.
  • Whether a community can prohibit religious services in the common areas or in individual homes in the community.
  • How to navigate the tricky landscape of regulating and/or promoting holiday decor and social events.
  • Two landmark Supreme Court cases on guns and how those rulings impact your community’s desire to regulate guns in your common areas.

BONUS: We end with a bit of constitutional trivia. See how well you do!

About Take It To The Board

Think you know what community association life is all about? Think again. Residents must obey the rules, directors must follow the law, and managers must keep it all running smoothly. Take It To The Board explores the reality of life in a condominium, cooperative or homeowners’ association, what’s really involved in serving on its board, and how to maintain that ever-so-delicate balance of being legally compliant and community spirited. Leading community association attorney Donna DiMaggio Berger acknowledges the balancing act without losing her sense of humor as she talks with a variety of association leaders, experts, and vendors about the challenges and benefits of the community association lifestyle.

If you’ve got a question, Take It To The Board with Donna DiMaggio Berger – We Speak Condo & HOA!

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