The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that the traditional regulatory distinction between on-premises signs and off-premises signs (billboards) is content-neutral and therefore constitutional. The ruling came in a closely watched case, City of Austin v. Reagan National Advertising. A lower court had ruled that cities could not differentiate between the two types of signs.
The International Sign Association (ISA) has long contended that the traditional regulatory distinction between on-premises signs and billboards is location-based, not content-based, and that eliminating the distinction would be harmful to the on-premises sign industry. ISA submitted two amicus briefs to SCOTUS urging them to rule in favor of on-premises signs.
“We submitted our amicus briefs to educate the Court on the practical and legal differences between billboards and on-premises signs. We pointed out the importance of on-premises signs to America’s small businesses, and it appears that six justices took our advice to heart,” said David Hickey, ISA’s Vice President of Advocacy. “Thanks to the Court’s decision in Austin v. Reagan, we will have regulatory certainty in the United States, and our industry can continue to succeed and grow.”
According to ISA, the association is pleased that the Supreme Court of the United States came to this reasonable and thoughtful decision.
Meanwhile ISA will continue monitoring these legal developments and analyzing what they mean for the sign, graphics and visual communications industry and communicate those as they understand the implications more fully.