So close, yet so far. That’s the motto in this case.
C. Blake’s Bar & Grill landed a $1.375 million judgment against the City of St. Peters, Missouri and others. The bar — more specifically, the bar’s sole shareholder’s husband — had alleged that the city increased police presence around the establishment and ultimately revoked its liquor license when the bar’s husband exercised his First Amendment right to free speech. (The husband had written some letters to the editor of a local newspaper which were indirectly critical of the city’s mayor.)
About one month ago, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that verdict “with instructions to vacate the judgment” and “dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction.” Why? The bar did not have third-party standing to raise the husband’s free-speech claim. Some news coverage here.
This ruling reaffirms a settled theory of physics [law]: you can’t stand up [for constitutional rights] without standing.