The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday heard oral arguments in a case involving a local ordinance governing the placement of curbside signs in Gilbert, Arizona. The Good News Community Church was required to remove signs announcing the location of worship services because they were “event signs,” subject to size and time period regulations. As the church and some justices pointed out, had the sign included a political or other ideological message, it could have remained.
The Washington Post reports:
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said that as he understood the ordinances, the church could put up a large “ideological” sign for an extended period of time but not if it directed viewers to services.
The conservative Alito envisioned a sign saying: “ ‘Come to our service on Sunday morning. We can’t tell you now where it will be because the town won’t let us, but if . . . you drive by here tomorrow morning at a certain time, you will see an arrow.’ ”
Savrin agreed that if the sign gives directions, it is under different restrictions about when it can be placed and how long it may remain in place.
Justice Breyer went on to say “it does sound as if the town is being a little unreasonable.”
You can read a transcript of the oral arguments here.