Media Contact

Cassidy Fallik, (913) 748-1278,

March 29, 2021

OKLAHOMA CITY — In response to today’s denial by the U.S. Supreme Court to hear McCraw, et al. v. City of Oklahoma City, et al., also known as the anti-panhandling ordnance case, the ACLU of Oklahoma issued the following statements:

The following is attributable to Megan Lambert, Staff Attorney for the ACLU of Oklahoma: 

“Today, the United States Supreme Court denied Oklahoma City’s petition for certiorari in McCraw, et al. v. City of Oklahoma City, et al., rejecting the City’s last-ditch attempt to continue criminalizing poverty and affirming the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling that panhandlers, Curbside Chronical vendors, political activists, journalists, candidates for public office, and all Oklahomans have the First Amendment right to engage in public discourse on city medians.”  

“The Court’s denial today affirms what we have said from the beginning – people experiencing homelessness have the constitutional right to solicit life-saving funds from medians, and the city cannot violate those rights in a callous attempt to hide the uncomfortable truth of our neighbor’s struggle from public view. After years of vigorous and unsuccessful defense from Oklahoma City, their anti-panhandling ordinance is once and for all void as an unconstitutional violation of the right to free speech.” 

The following is attributable to Joseph Thai, Presidential Professor of Law, Lead Counsel: 

“After five long years of litigation, the Supreme Court’s denial of the City’s desperate petition confirms what we have argued all along. The City violated the precious First Amendment rights of all Oklahoma City residents—not just the impoverished to panhandle, but everyone to stand and speak in the public square, from political candidates running for office, to grassroots activists demanding racial justice, to firefighters filling the boot for charity.” 

“While the City wasted tens of thousands of dollars to throw its Hail Mary pass at the Supreme Court, our legal team saved taxpayers tens of thousands by waiving our response. We trusted the Court to see through the City’s factual and legal distortions and leave in place the unanimous federal appeals court ruling that the City had “utterly failed” to justify its odious ordinance.” 

“Under federal civil rights law, the City must pay the legal fees of its impoverished victims to deter it from violating their rights in the future. We will fight to hold the City fully accountable.”