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Law360: Austin Billboard Fight Has Justices Talking BBQ And KaleNovember 10, 2021
The US Supreme Court case between the City of Austin and Reagan National Advertising of Austin saw the Justices spending “more than an hour and a half picking apart a since-replaced regulation from Austin, Texas, that allowed advertisers to put up digital billboards on their premises but not off-site.” The case focuses on whether the regulation is content-based or not. If it is, the regulation meets a strict scrutiny standard as to whether it was passed to “further a government interest and was narrowly tailored,” whereas if it was not content-based, it faces intermediate scrutiny that looks at whether the regulation “furthers a government interest and does so in a way substantially related to the interest.” O’Melveny partner Michael Dreeben, who represents the City of Austin, said the regulation does not trigger strict scrutiny. “There is a differentiation between laws which evenhandedly regulate a broad class of subject matters or topics and do not differentiate among them according to what the court’s cases have carved out as topical preferences by the government where it is skewing the marketplace for ideas,” Dreeben said.
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