• Free Speech Challenge to Caltrans Political Sign Restrictions

    “Political speech is one of the fundamental important hallmarks of the first amendment.  I think limiting political speech to certain timeframes is simply unacceptable.” – NorCal Outdoor Media attorney Joshua Furman

    Norcal Outdoor Media has filed a federal lawsuit saying that Caltrans restrictions on political ads are unconstitutional.  Norcal wants to run a message saying Trump 2020.  Cantrans says political signs are illegal more than 90 days before an election.

    Insider’s take:  Not sure if this case will succeed.  Courts have in the past been willing to permit time and place restrictions on types of billboard ads.  Caltrans isn’t prohibiting political ads.  It’s limiting them to the time around the election.  If Caltrans prohibited any political or issue ads the court case would be more likely to succeed.  The ACLU is challenging the Philadelphia transit systems ban on ads involving “matters of public debate.”  In September 2019 a Washington Court ruled that King County’s ban on “demeaning or disparaging” bus ads was unconstitutional because it discriminates based on viewpont.  There doesn’t seem to be a legal consensus on the issue.  In July 2018 the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied a challenge to the Wash DC transit authority’s policy of not taking issue-oriented or religious or political messages.  The Supreme Court refused to take the case.


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