City Ordinance Limiting Posting of Political Signage Violates Constitution

Friday, May 25, 2018 9:58 am
June 2018 - Volume 46 Number 6

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California held that a city ordinance limiting the posting of political campaign signs was unconstitutional.

Facts: On August 17, 2006, the City of American Canyon (the City) adopted an ordinance regulating political signs. The ordinance purported, in relevant part, to (1) limit the installation or display of political signs to the 90 days preceding the election for which the sign was intended; (2) forbid the posting of political signs on any public property or in the public right-of-way; and (3) allow the City’s representatives the unfettered right to remove signs that violated the ordinance.

Paul Maguire (Maguire), a politically active citizen who intends to run for mayor in 2008, filed suit seeking a declaration that the ordinance was unconstitutional and a permanent injunction preventing its enforcement. Specifically, Maguire alleged that (1) the lack of a notice requirement for the removal of non-complying political signs violated his right to Due Process; (2) the 90-day limit infringed his First Amendment right to free speech; and (3) the ordinance violated the Fourteenth Amendment by giv[..]