A New Orleans judge issued a temporary restraining order last week allowing Josh Wexler and Anne Jordan Blanton to begin selling books on a city street. The couple, with the backing of the Institute for Justice, filed suit earlier in the month seeking to overturn a city ordinance that prevents street vendors from selling books (News, Apr. 14). The restraining order will remain in effect until April 30, when Judge Stanwood R. Duval will hear arguments about extending the order until the case is finally resolved.
Dana Berliner, the attorney for the vendors, told PW, "This makes us very optimistic. You get a temporary restraining order only if you are able to demonstrate that you are likely to succeed in the ultimate decision." Berliner maintains that the ordinance—which allows for the sale of such things as razor blades and pencils, but not specifically books—violates Wexler and Blanton's rights to free speech.
Wexler and Blanton began preparations to start selling used and blank books almost immediately after hearing about the restraining order. "It's great that after a year and a half we can finally do this," said Wexler. "We're grateful for all the work the lawyers have done for us so far." "This is just the first step," added Blanton. "We're in it for the long haul."