Seven young artists Tuesday sued New York City over its strict anti-graffiti law, saying it violated their constitutional right to free speech.
The group argued in federal court that the city went too far by banning people under 21 from possessing spray paint or broad-tipped markers.
Gabriel Taussig, a lawyer for the city, countered those arguments, saying the law "strikes a proper constitutional balance between the First Amendment rights (to free speech) and the need to control the long-standing plague of graffiti."
The law took effect at the start of the year. The city says its aggressive police tactics, which combat even minor vandalism to send a message that no law-breaking will be tolerated, have helped dramatically lower crime.
The suit names City Councilman Peter Vallone, who sponsored the anti-graffiti law, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, saying they have "waged a personal war against graffiti art and graffiti artists, fueled by their personal, subjective distaste for the art form."
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