California leaves highway banners alone

| Tuesday, September 24, 2002

The California Department of Transportation said Sept. 18 it would comply with a judge's order to stop tearing down certain highway banners. The agency was sued because anti-war signs were removed while American flags remained.

Caltrans said last week it would leave up all banners that do not pose a safety hazard. In January, U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Whyte said the agency could not exempt U.S. flags.

Caltrans said it would comply with the judge's order while it appeals. The appeal is scheduled to be heard in October.

Free-speech advocates Amy Courtney and Cassandra Brown of Santa Cruz sued Caltrans last year. They claimed their anti-war banners were taken down because of their content, while the American flag was allowed to stay.

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