At least he’s honest?

Evan Bernick of the Huffington Post writes:

Professor: Supreme Court Shouldn’t Protect Speech I Don’t Like

This Monday, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case of Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona, an important free speech case. Garrett Epps, a prominent law professor and contributor to the Atlantic, is deeply concerned that the Court will decide it in a way that leads to increased protection for speech that he does not like. Those who believe that the First Amendment should not be trumped by the subjective preferences of law professors should not fall under Epps’ spell.

What is the case about? The Town of Gilbert, Ariz., has a sign code that categorizes temporary signs and restricts their size, duration and location. Under the sign code, the Good News Community Church’s temporary signs promoting church services are subject to far greater restrictions than temporary signs promoting political, ideological and various other messages. That is, the sign code facially discriminates on the basis of the content of the messages communicated by the signs, effectively enabling government officials to act as censors.

The Supreme Court has held that content-based restrictions on speech are presumptively unconstitutional, and must be subjected to the strictest scrutiny. But lower courts, including the Ninth Circuit in this case, have held that laws that facially discriminate based on content are not necessarily content-based — not only when evaluating sign codes, but also when evaluating a vast range of restrictions on other forms of noncommercial speech, such as occupational-speech licensing, panhandling bans and noise ordinances. In this case, the Ninth Circuit held that the sign code was “content-neutral” because of the Town of Gilbert’s assurances that it had no intention to discriminate. The Institute for Justice filed an amicus brief, urging the Court to clarify that facially content-based statutes should not be given a pass because of the supposedly good intentions of officials.