Sign Regulation After Ladue: Examining the Evolving Limits of First Amendment Protection
Cordes, Mark W.
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This article examines the law of sign and billboard regulations, with particular attention to the dual concerns noted by the U.S. Supreme Court in City of Ladue v. Gilleo of restricting "too much" speech and restricting "too little." It addresses three general issues surrounding the permissible limits of sign and billboard regulation. In particular, it examines 1) the extent to which a municipality must accommodate signs or billboards, 2) the permissible limits of content-neutral yet under-inclusive restrictions on signs and billboards, and 3) the extent to which municipalities can create content-based distinctions in sign and billboard regulation. The Article further examines the First Amendment framework, focusing on time, place, and manner regulations of speech and the commercial speech doctrine. It then examines several decisions in which the Supreme Court has addressed restrictions on signs: Linmark Associates v. Township of Willingboro, Metromedia, Inc. v. City of San Diego, Members of City Council v. Taxpayers for Vincent, and City of Ladue v. Gilleo.