Billboard Insider: Challenge to Tennessee’s Billboard Law (In the News)

Billboard Insider: Challenge to Tennessee’s Billboard Law

By Dave Westburg

The Institute for Free Speech, a non-profit advocacy group, will represent the plaintiff challenging Tennessee’s billboard law on constitutional grounds…

Sign owner William H. Thomas sued Tennessee’s billboard-control act, prompting a federal judge in Memphis to invalidate the state’s billboard law on First Amendment grounds. The case is Thomas v. Schroer. Defendant John Schroer is commissioner of Tennessee’s Department of Transportation and also president of AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials).

In October, the State of Tennessee appealed to the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals; its brief will be filed soon. The State argues that its regulation of billboards does not violate free speech…

On January 26, the Institute for Free Speech issued a press release saying it is representing plaintiff Thomas on appeal. The Institute was not involved in the case previously.

“A law that permits a sign that says ‘Fireworks for sale here,’ but prohibits an identical sign that reads ‘Support our troops,’ imposes a content-based restriction on speech,” said Institute [Legal] Director Allen Dickerson.

The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.