Can a city government limit an individual’s liberty of expression in their own home?

, , ,

Tired of visual clutter in its neighborhoods, the City of Ladue, Missouri, banned all signs on residential property except for signs that warned of hazards, identified residences, or advertised that the property was for sale. Margaret, who was determined to express her opposition to the outbreak of the Persian Gulf War, placed a small sign that read “For Peace in the Gulf” in the second-story window of her home. Then she sued to stop the enforcement of the ordinance.

Margaret prevailed in a unanimous decision before the Supreme Court, which stressed the special respect that our culture and laws accord to individual liberty in the home. As the Court put it, “that principle has special resonance when the government seeks to constrain a person’s ability to speak there.”