Late last week, in a case that involved made-for-TV shenanigans by a local police officer, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a town’s total ban on signs, flags, and banners within 100 feet of an interstate highway could survive with respect to overhead signs, but remanded the case for additional proceedings with respect to other parts of the ban.
Campbell, Wisconsin bans all signs, flags, and banners along interstate highways. The town enacted its regulation after members of the community hung political protest banners containing messages commonly identified with the Tea Party on a pedestrian overpass over Interstate 90.
Following the enactment of the regulation, the local police began issuing citations to individuals displaying signs along the highway. Some of the individual sign-posters took videos of the police issuing citations—including in response to the protesters’ display of American flags and other patriotic signs along the interstate highway. Concerned about the videos, in an apparent attempt at vigilante justice, the local police chief posted the name and email address of one of the Tea Party sign-posters on same-sex dating and pornographic websites. The police chief also took to local newspapers to accuse the man of failing to pay his taxes.