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SCOTUS: San Francisco Does It Again - First Amendment Should Trump Local Ordinance

March 27, 2018

 

Update (3/23/18): After receiving SLF’s amicus brief along with several others, the Supreme Court orders San Francisco to file a response to the Petition.

 

WASHINGTON, DC: Southeastern Legal Foundation filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court urging it to hear another First Amendment case coming out of the Ninth Circuit.  In Contest Promotions v. San Francisco, an advertising agency challenges a San Francisco ordinance banning all off-premises advertising.  Under the law, a person who owns two pizza restaurants – one uptown and one downtown – cannot even notify customers of its other location since that would be considered “off-premises.” 

 

In no surprise, the Ninth Circuit applied the lowest level of scrutiny and found that because San Francisco has an "interest" in safety and aesthetics, the law does not violate the First Amendment.  In its amicus brief, SLF explains that if the Ninth Circuit had applied the correct level of scrutiny it would have found the speech regulation unconstitutional.  SLF is hopeful that the Supreme Court will grant the writ of certiorari and hear this case.  If the Ninth Circuit’s holding is allowed to stand, it will open the door to allowing the government to regulate any and all commercial speech under the guise of safety and aesthetics.

 

Click here for SCOTUS amicus brief filed March 23, 2018

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