The ACLU of Massachusetts, together with Todd & Weld, filed a lawsuit on October 31, 2019 on behalf of the owners of a Cambridge restaurant who were given a three-day suspension by the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC).
The suspension was enforced at the request of the Cambridge License Commission after the owners objected to city officials’ threats to shut down their business for burning small tea candles. While the ABCC ruled that the owners did not violate any laws by burning candles, it still punished them for arguing with the officials.
The ABCC’s decision to punish members of the public for criticizing the conduct of public officials, and the statutes the ABCC cited in their sanction, are unconstitutional under the First Amendment and state constitution as applied to those who merely object to government action.
For audio of the incident, click here.
For a video clip of the incident, click here.