Ladue Reacts to Ruling With Relief, Exasperation

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WITHIN hours of the United States Supreme Court's ruling in her favor, Margaret Gilleo hammered a ``Gilleo for Congress'' sign into the lawn outside her home in the St. Louis suburb of Ladue.

Since her case against Ladue began in 1990, Ms. Gilleo's attention has turned from the Persian Gulf war to her own political campaign. She is one of three Democrats seeking the nomination to challenge incumbent Republican Congressman James Talent. The primary is scheduled for Aug. 2.

``We're getting a lot of favorable publicity right now,'' she says. ``I've been dancing for joy.''

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While Gilleo celebrates, Ladue Mayor Edith Spinks is facing up to the cost of taking this battle all the way to the high court. The city's legal bill may tally up to $500,000. City officials are not saying how they plan to cover the legal expenses.

Some residents criticize the mayor for taking the issue too far and creating an unnecessary expense. ``This is a win for the people because it is so important to protect free speech,'' says Dudley Grove, who ran for mayor in Ladue last year. ``But this is a real loss to Ladue. We didn't have to go this far.''

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