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Supreme Court Ruling Favors On-Premise Signs

ISA says the decision maintains “regulatory certainty across the country.”




U.S. Supreme Court, Washington, DC | Credit: bloodua, iStock

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS, Washington) 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; Alexandria, VA) had submitted two amicus briefs to SCOTUS urging them to rule in favor of on-premises signs.

“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,” reads a statement, in part, from the association.

“We submitted our briefs to educate the Court on the practical and legal differences between on-premises signs and billboards, and to point out the importance of on-premises signs to America’s small businesses, and it appears that the 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 across the country and our industry can continue to succeed and grow.”

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