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Ladue v. Gilleo

The Facts Of The Case, The Lower Courts Rule, The Supreme Court Rules


City of Ladue, et al.


Margaret P. Gilleo

Petitioner's Claim

That the city of Ladue's ban on residential signs except in ten exempted cases did not violate Margaret Gilleo's First Amendment right to free speech.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Jordan B. Cherrick

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Gerald P. Greiman

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anthony M. Kennedy, Sandra Day O'Connor, William H. Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, David H. Souter, John Paul Stevens (writing for the Court), Clarence Thomas

Justices Dissenting



Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

13 June 1994


Upheld the lower court's ruling that the city of Ladue's ban on residential signs did in fact violate Margaret Gilleo's First Amendment right to free speech.


The ruling affirmed the Supreme Court's belief that a city cannot infringe upon the free speech rights of its inhabitants without a compelling reason to do so. In this case the city's desire to reduce clutter in residential areas was found not to be compelling enough to justify a ban on signage.


Ladue v. Gilleo reaffirmed the U.S. Supreme Court's commitment to strict scrutiny of all governmental attempts to restrict free speech. It established a precedent for future cases in which the balance between state regulation of signage and the rights of expression come into conflict.

Related Cases

  • First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, 435 U.S. 765 (1978).
  • Metromedia, Inc. v. San Diego, 453 U.S. 490 (1981).
  • Frisby v. Schultz, 487 U.S. 474 (1988).

Further Readings

  • Kennedy, David J. "Residential Associations as State Actors."Yale Law Journal, Vol. 105, no. 3, December 1995, pp. 761-793.
  • Newman, Judith, Mary M. Harrison, and Carolyn Kramer. "A Sign of the Times." People Weekly, March 21, 1994, pp. 115-117.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1989 to 1994