Supreme Court rules in favor of tiny Gilbert church

Via Tuscon (Capitol Media Services):

In a case with nationwide implications, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday the town of Gilbert illegally blocked a tiny church from erecting temporary signs directing parishioners to services.

In a unanimous opinion, the court concluded the town acted improperly in permitting some signs to remain up for longer period than others. Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the court, said that was an impermissible content-based regulation.

“The First Amendment … prohibits enactment of laws ‘abridging the freedom of speech,’” Thomas wrote. “Under that clause, a government, including a municipal government vested with state authority has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content.”

The breadth of that language suggests the impact will go well beyond religious organizations getting latitude in erecting signs.