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SCOTUS hears case on religious freedom of speech




The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Monday in a case that looks at how municipal governments may regulate where and when signs are posted.
The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Monday in a case that looks at how municipal governments may regulate where and when signs are posted.
Rick Bowmer/AP

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The Supreme Court today heard oral arguments in a case brought forth by a small church in Arizona claiming that the town of Gilbert had violated its free speech rights by forcing it to remove signs telling people about its religious services.

Under Gilbert’s sign ordinance, the location of where a sign could be displayed, how long it could be shown and its size are all determined by the content. The Good News Community Church claims that the ordinance discriminates against religious signage, treating them more rigidly than signs displaying political or ideological messages. The town, however, says that it’s just how the law’s written. Gilbert officials maintain that the church’s signs belong to the category of “events” signs, which have to be smaller and can only be put up 12 hours before the start of the event.

The court is expected to rule on the case in June.

Guests:

Susan Trevarthen, co-author of an amicus brief written in support of the town of Gilbert. She’s an attorney at the firm, Weiss, Serota, Helfman, Cole, Bierman & Popok in Fort Lauderdale, Fl.

Matthew McReynolds, Staff Attorney, Pacific Justice Institute, a non-profit organization that defends religious liberties and parental rights with offices throughout California