SCOTUS Battle: AZ Church Fights Local Law Restricting Road Signs
Shannon Bream reported this morning outside the Supreme Court, which began hearing a major case involving religious speech.
The Good News Community Church, located in Gilbert, Ariz., is in a fight with the local government that they claim is putting far stricter limits on its roadside signs advertising Sunday services and directions.
Pastor Clyde Reed and the church sued the city of Gilbert claiming religious groups are treated more severely than real estate agents, politicians and other groups whose signs stay up for months at a time.
Gilbert allows so-called directional signs, like the ones put up by the church inviting people to Sunday worship, to be no larger than 6 square feet. They must be placed in public areas no more than 12 hours before an event and removed within an hour of its end. Signs for political candidates, by contrast, can be up to 32 square feet and can remain in place for several months.
Lower federal courts upheld the town's sign ordinance because the distinction it draws between different kinds of temporary signs is not based on what a sign says.
The church is joined by religious groups and the Obama administration in urging the Supreme Court to strike down the ordinance.
The church, which serves roughly 30 adults and up to 10 children, argues that the regulation's significant difference in the size of the signs and how long they can be displayed is essentially regulation based on content, which the Supreme Court only rarely allows in First Amendment cases.
Bream noted that in today's arguments, some justices - including Samuel Alito - questioned why one form of speech is being treated differently than others. She said a decision should come down by the end of June.
Watch the video above to hear more.