The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

13 September 2004

Blocking up the scenery?

There aren't a lot of political yard signs at the moment: on my block, there's a total of one. Of course, the election is still seven weeks away, so there's still time for the little buggers to blossom, but for now, there's just the one.

Apparently, had I stayed in Charleston, where I lived during the 1960s, I might not be allowed to have such a thing today:

From Crowfield Plantation in Goose Creek to new subdivisions west of the Ashley, neighborhood covenants prevent homeowners from putting their politics on display. That means no John Kerry signs. Ditto for George Bush.

Of course, the new arrivals are supposed to sign these things voluntarily, but....

"If you can have any sign, then you can have a political sign," said Charleston lawyer and ACLU member Armand Derfner. "The Supreme Court has said you cannot discriminate against political speech. Period."

Any restriction against outdoor political advertising would likely be struck down in court if someone pursued it, Derfner said.

If anyone pursues it, I'd like to hear about it.

Posted at 6:37 PM to Political Science Fiction


I don't know about Derfner's comment. Newly-built subdivisions and developments have the right to restrict whatever they want nowadays. I have seen where buyers know before going in that they cannot do this and they cannot do that when it comes to their property. As long as a new buyer is aware beforehand, or if the subdivision is treated much like a condo association, then they can basically do whatever the hell they want, including no signs of any kind on any part of their properties.

Posted by: Vickie at 5:28 AM on 14 September 2004

That's about what I was thinking, and contracts are enforceable — unless the premise here is that this clause in a contract is inherently contrary to the Constitution and therefore not enforceable at all.

Certainly when I bought Surlywood, I was advised of the restrictions that come with living in a semi-historic district. (Yard signs are permitted here.) Had I serious objections, I would have bought elsewhere.

Posted by: CGHill at 9:35 AM on 14 September 2004