WASHINGTON—The U.S. Supreme Court today overturned the Fifth Circuit’s decision in City of Austin v. Reagan National Advertising of Austin, Inc., a case challenging a city sign code that permits on-premises but not off-premises signs to be digitized. The Court found that the ordinance was content-neutral and not subject to strict scrutiny, and remanded the case for further review.  The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, joined by Professor Genevieve Lakier, filed an amicus brief in the case arguing that Austin’s sign code is not content-based and as a result is not subject to strict scrutiny. 

The following response can be attributed to Scott Wilkens, senior staff attorney at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.

“This decision is a victory for common sense. It’s important that courts apply the most stringent scrutiny to laws that discriminate against speech on the basis of its subject matter or viewpoint. But it’s also important that the First Amendment not be transformed into a general-purpose deregulatory tool. This decision will help ensure that the First Amendment isn’t used to strike down legislation that furthers the values the First Amendment was meant to serve.”

Read today’s decision here 

Read the Knight Institute’s brief here.

For more information, contact: Adriana Lamirande, [email protected]