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Goldwater Institute calls Super Bowl sign ruling a win for free speech

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Tuesday, February 7, 2023 - 12:09pm
Updated: Tuesday, February 7, 2023 - 12:36pm

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Downtown Phoenix Super Bowl signs
Logan Camden/Cronkite News
Signs announcing the Super Bowl can be seen all through downtown Phoenix, but the city had limited signs near game-associated entertainment areas — so-called “clean zones.”

Late last week, a Maricopa County judge struck down the city of Phoenix’s “clean zone” around the NFL Experience, calling the ordinance unconstitutional and ordering the city to act quickly on behalf of at least one property owner in the area.

Phoenix had attempted to restrict the kind of signage that local property owners within the zone could put up by requiring approval from both the city and the NFL. The Goldwater Institute sued Phoenix after a property owner raised concerns over First Amendment freedoms.

When asked for comment, the city of Phoenix says that it is committed to working with small businesses to provide permits, including for signage, and said that the judge’s ruling only applies to two specific vacant parcels of land.

To talk about the ruling, Goldwater Institute attorney John Thorpe joined The Show.

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