Supreme Court victory for free speech


Today, in the case of Reed v. Town of Gilbert, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down an important victory for free speech rights.

As explained in more detail here, the facts of the case are simple enough.  A small Christian church in Gilbert, Arizona — Good News Community Church — wanted to post temporary signs in the public rights of way to let passersby know where and when its worship services were held.  According to the town’s sign code, however, the church’s religious signs could not be as large as, or remain in place as long as, signs bearing political or ideological messages.

Even though the sign code clearly imposed different restrictions based on the contentof signs, i.e., what the signs say, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held (remarkably) that the code did not discriminate based on content.  Why?  Because the town did not disagree with the viewpoint of any message in adopting its code.