Last week, the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana issued an order granting the City of Missoula’s motion for summary judgment in a case challenging the constitutionality of its sign code. The court found that the city’s code was content neutral as applied to the plaintiff, and that the code satisfied the Central Hudson intermediate scrutiny test for commercial speech regulations.
Carwerks, a used car dealership in Missoula, challenged the city’s sign code after the city issued several citations to Carwerks for placing helium balloons on its vehicles in violation of a code provision that prohibited banners, flags, pennants, streamers, spinners, and “other types of wind signs.” Carwerks claimed that the sign code was content based and failed the Central Hudson test. Carwerks took issue with two aspects of the ordinance: first, that the code distinguished between commercial and noncommercial speech; and second, that the code’s definition of “sign” exempted window displays and national flags. Continue Reading Missoula, Montana Sign Code Withstands First Amendment Challenge