“…In November, the court will hear argument in City of Austin v. Reagan National Advertising of Texas, a First Amendment challenge to an Austin regulation that bars some digitized billboards but allows others depending on the billboard’s location. A new petition asks the court to take up another challenge to a city policy that involves differential treatment of signs.

The city of Baltimore taxes the owners of displays that advertise services that occur in a different location, meaning many billboards but not other types of signs. One of the country’s largest billboard-advertising companies challenged the tax under the First Amendment. Applying a relaxed standard, Maryland’s highest court upheld the tax as rationally related to the city’s legitimate interest in raising public revenue. In its petition, the billboard owner, one of four such companies in Baltimore, argues that a heightened standard should apply. The company also argues that Baltimore’s distinction between on-premises signs and off-premises signs is ‘even more problematic’ than the one presented in Austin. The case is Clear Channel Outdoor, LLC v. Raymond.”

— Andrew Hamm, SCOTUSblog

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