U.S. SUPREME COURT ISSUES FIRST AMENDMENT DECISIONS IMPACTING SIGN REGULATIONS AND FLAG POLICIES
Written by Matthew Richardson, Scott Smith, and Ryan Stager
LAWFUL OR LANDMINE? COURT RULES ON FREE SPEECH SNARES
Municipalities throughout the country regulate signs and set policy for flag-flying on public property. Done right, these are lawful functions of local government; done wrong, they can be First Amendment landmines. Two recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions refine the map to navigate this landscape. In the first case, the Court provides welcome clarity on local sign regulations that do (and do not) trigger strict scrutinyâa critical threshold distinction because regulations subject to strict scrutiny are presumptively unconstitutional. The second case highlights what not to do when allowing private groups to fly flags on public property.
CITY OF AUSTIN, TEXAS V. REAGAN NATIONAL ADVERTISING OF AUSTIN (SIGNS)