With the Best of Intentions: First Amendment Pitfalls for Government Regulation of Signage and Noise
A basic tenant of American jurisprudence is the protection of speech under the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, as well as sections 4 and 9 of Article I of the Florida Constitution. While the extent of free speech is not limitless, this Article demonstrates that government attempts to regulate speech through regulation of signage and noise has been significantly curtailed by both federal and state courts in recent years. Further, a constitutional challenge to a government regulation will often be reviewed de novo as a pure question of law and is therefore subject to a stricter standard of review than general regulations.' This dictates that governments cannot rely upon the judicial deference typically afforded to local governments exercising their police powers. Therefore, many sign and noise ordinances will need to be significantly amended to ensure constitutional compliance. In addition to explaining the current climate of First Amendment regulation with regard to signage and noise, this Article provides concrete advice and best drafting guidelines for governments to utilize when drafting or revising signage and noise regulations.
Karen Consalo, With the Best of Intentions: First Amendment Pitfalls for Government Regulation of Signage and Noise, 46 Stetson L. REV. 533 (2017).