Bad News and Good News for Billboard Companies: Ninth Circuit Refuses to Recognize Limit on City of Los Angeles Sign Ordinance but Curbs the Power of the City to Classify Commercial and Noncommercial Speech
By Matthew Hinks
The Ninth Circuit has issued a new "chapter in 'the story of billboards.'" Billboard companies and advertisers should take note of the court's opinion. Although the opinion refused to extend full First Amendment protection to billboards and advertising related to underlying expressive works, the court -- recognizing its central role in defining the contours of Constitutional liberties -- rejected the trial court's reasoning that a municipality should be afforded deference to define the divide between commercial and noncommercial speech.