The USSC Foundation has funded a comprehensive report on the recent US Supreme Court case involving signs, Reed v. Town of Gilbert, 135 S. Ct. 2218 (2015). Hailed as a landmark case on signs and content neutrality, Reed has subsequently been subjected to various interpretations, despite its clear message.
The research team is headed by Steven Brody of Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, New York NY. Steve is an established authority on constitutional issues, including First Amendment and Commerce Clause matters, as well as advertising cases. He is also the author of a leading treatise titled Advertising and Commercial Speech: A First Amendment Guide, which is updated annually.
The Reed decision itself is straightforward: sign codes must be content neutral; they cannot regulate based on the content displayed on a sign, nor create different rules for different “speakers”; that would be content-based regulation.
There have been, however, increasing issues with how the Reed decision is being applied by the lower courts, as well as with legal commentators. Mr. Brody will provide a report that delineates the true meaning of the Reed case, and can give sign companies and sign applicants a road map as to how to use the Reed case and make the winning legal arguments.
The report will be distributed by the USSC at the upcoming American Planning Association (APA) Conference in May 2017. Contact the USSC for details.