SCOTUS up angle1Written by Don Byrd

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a free speech case regarding Gilbert, Arizona’s restrictions on sign placement. The plaintiff in the case is a small church with no permanent worship space. The Good News Community Church used curbside signs to advertise the location of worship services, but was required to remove the signs because they were determined to be “event signs.”

At SCOTUSblog, Lyle Deniston explains the core problem the church faces under the ordinance:

Gilbert will allow a curbside sign, put up only temporarily,  that is directional in nature, if it is keyed to an event within the community.  But within the exempted categories, there are differing requirements on size, duration of display, permission from private property owners, and option to place them in public rights of way, such as a median strip.

Signs that fall into the political category can be larger, may go up at any time but must come down ten days after the election, and can be placed in a right of way.  A sign that the town treats as ideological in origin, with a message other than a commercial one, may be larger and is not limited in the time it can remain up.

The Obama Administration supports the church’s view that the ordinance improperly favors one type of speech over another. The Court hears arguments today. Stay tuned.