Charleston, W.Va. (Ap) -- A federal judge says a West Virginia rule that restricts soliciting in state parks, forests and wildlife management areas is an unconstitutional curb of free speech.
U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey's ruling came in a lawsuit filed in 2008 against the state Division Of Natural Resources by the Rutherford Institute on behalf of the constitution party of West Virginia.
Party members were conducting a petition drive to put their candidates on the ballot during a 2007 event at Stonewall Jackson State Park.
The lawsuit said DNR officials told them to stop because the activity wasn't authorized.
The state rule prohibits soliciting without the DNR director's written permission.
Bailey said in his June 3 ruling that the restriction subjects all potential speakers to the DNR director's whim.
(Copyright 2009 By The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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