Supreme Court sign ruling could create a cottage industry of challenges

Via Daily Report:

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday struck down an Arizona town’s sign ordinance, saying it violated the First Amendment because its rules for signs unjustifiably varied depending on the signs’ subject matter.

The fight was over the sort of temporary signs frequently found on lawns and at intersections. The justices were unanimous in deciding the Arizona law had to go, with one concurring opinion saying the ordinance didn’t pass “the laugh test.” But they disagreed on what rule the court should adopt.

The court’s opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas said municipalities retain options for regulating signs, but several justices said the ruling could result in the invalidation of many “entirely reasonable” laws.

Although the case was based in an Arizona federal court, the ruling was a victory for one Georgia lawyer over another. David Cortman, who works for Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom out of the group’s office in Lawrenceville, Georgia, argued at the high court on behalf of a small church congregation that challenged the sign law in Gilbert, Arizona. Coincidentally, another Georgia lawyer, Philip Savrin of Freeman Mathis & Gary in Atlanta, argued on behalf of the town.