UPDATE: Judge Agrees to Hear Girl Scout Cookie Case

CLAYTON, MO. (KMOX) — The question of whether the Constitution guarantees the right of Girl Scouts to sell cookies from a stand in front of their house is headed to court.

Judge Richard Bresnahan today denied a motion from the city of Hazelwood to dismiss the case filed last week.  A broader suit filed last year by the girls never made it to trial.  

This latest suit, filed by Girl Scouts Caitlin and Abigail Mills, challenges whether a Hazelwood zoning ordinance can force them to seek a permit to sell the cookies.

“Can the city constitutionally do that?” said attorney Dave Roland of the Freedom Center, “That’s the big question that we’re trying to get the courts to answer.”

Hazelwood had argued that the issue comes under the authority of its board of zoning adjustment — that it has the right to regulate a cookie operation that may create traffic backups, noise and safety issues in a residential neighborhood.

Hazelwood City Attorney Kevin O’Keefe says they will prepare for trial. The case will be a bench trial with no jury.

Related Articles:
Thin Mints and the Constitution — Two Girl Scouts Ask Court to Take Up Their Case
Without Comment, Judge Dismisses Girl Scout Cookie Lawsuit
Hazelwood Crackdown on Girl Scout Cookies

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  • Nick Kasoff

    I can’t think of a constitutional issue here. If retail sales in a residential neighborhood are beyond the ability of a local government to regulate, then what could they regulate? Nice try, girls, but you deserve to lose this one.

  • Jnce

    Well said Nick. Unless their street is zoned for retail operations in the home, or it is not zoned residential, there should not be special exemptions here. It is the city’s obligation to prevent such traffic problems in a residential area. If selling cookies were really the goal here, they would do it in an appropriate place zoned for commercial enterprises. You would have thought the girls would show up in full girl scout uniforms.

  • Mike

    If we follow this down the path of logic slightly farther, are we saying that a lemonade stand set up in one’s driveway poses a risk to the general public and should be issued a citation and shut down?

  • Nick Kasoff

    That’s a reasonable question, Mike. And I’m not saying they should not be able to sell lemonade, or cookies for that matter. I’m just saying that I don’t think there is a constitutional issue here. If you don’t like a policy, and there is no constitutional issue, you can still seek to have it changed. That’s what politics is for.

  • Dominic

    nick when you have kids and the cops come to your house and make your children crybecause they cant sell lemonade cookies whatever just having fun not a real bussiness one two five days a year . would you want them coming to your house because the want there fee from your eight year old or do you want her going door to door selling candy bars from school or in the safty of your own driveway. You cant make decisions in your child life without a permit. Definitly unconstitutional. If sombody made these rules i dont remember voting on it. Besides i want the cops and courts out doing there job getting the bad guy. Waste of money and time. Protect our youth at all costs they are our greatest treasure

    • Nick Kasoff

      Dominic, I’ll say it again: I’m not saying they shouldn’t be able to sell lemonade or cookies. But you don’t have a constitutional right to engage in retail commerce in a residential neighborhood, even if you are a 16 year old girl selling cookies. You say “definitly unconstitutional.” Tell me where the constitution prohibits local governments from regulating the time and place of commercial activity.

  • Dominic

    Just because they can do what ever they want does not mean that they can. they are making laws against the will of the people.not voted on not vetted by the people. probable done in closed doors ( sunshine law ) and vague wording. bolth unconstitutional. probable written to stop carpet baggers.

  • Nick Kasoff

    Sunshine Law is statute, not a constitutional issue. Vague language could be a constitutional issue, but it’s unlikely that the ordinance is vague on something as basic as this. And their attorney doesn’t claim the ordinance is vague, he claims there is a constitutional prohibition of requiring a permit. Are the laws against the will of the people? I don’t know. But like I said before, that’s what politics is for. If you live in Hazelwood and don’t like the law, run for city council.

    • Dominic

      what was the ordinance orginally written for intended for carpetbaggers streetmerchants producecarts probably. if so does the ordinance apply here

      • Jnce

        NO, an ordinance just for this type of purpose, selling retain from a private home in a private neighborhood, creating a nuisance. A nuisance significant enough for the neighbors to complain is just what this is to avoid. This is the same as any other home business that creates too much traffic.

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