Professor Weinstein Speaks on National Webinar re: Reed v. Town of Gilbert Case

Professor Alan Weinstein was a speaker on a national webinar presented by the American Planning Association on Friday, October 14. Titled Reed vs. Town of Gilbert – One Year Later,”  the webinar analyzed how lower courts are applying the Court’s “absolute” approach to the issue of content-neutrality for regulations of signs and other forms of expression. His presentation noted that while no court has yet ruled that regulations that distinguish between commercial and non-commercial content are content-based, both a federal district court and a Texas appeals court have ruled that a regulation that distinguishes between on-site and off-site signs based on the content of the message displayed is content-based and subject to strict scrutiny. Weinstein agreed with the federal district court’s rejection of Justice Alito’s characterization of onsite/off-site distinctions as content-neutral in light of Alito’s failure to provide any rationale for why a regulation that determines regulatory treatment based on the message displayed on the sign should not be considered content-based under Justice Thomas’s “on its face” rule in Reed. He also discussed a number of Courts of Appeal cases in which a regulation was found to be content-neutral and upheld under intermediate scrutiny before Reed, was then vacated and remanded by the Supreme Court after Reed, and on remand was found to be content-based and failed to survive struct scrutiny. 

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