Ads or free speech? Court weighs signs blasting a business

Connecticut Supreme Court Building (Image: jud.state.ct.us)

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The Connecticut Supreme Court is being asked to decide whether a town has the right to regulate signs that criticize local businesses.

The court heard arguments Tuesday in the case of Milford resident Eileen Arisian, who in the fall of 2010 erected signs saying that she didn’t recommend a home contractor and pointing out that his business was facing lawsuits.

Related Content: Right to criticize? Protest sign case heads to high court

The city’s zoning enforcement officer said the signs violated local regulations and ordered Arisian to take them down. When Arisian didn’t comply, the enforcement officer sued.

The 76-year-old Arisian says the signs are protected by free speech rights.

The city says the signs are public announcements and amount to advertising that can be regulated by local government.

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