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14 Cards in this Set

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What was Metromedia, Inc. v. City of San Diego; U.S. Supreme Court (1981)?

The Court found that commercial and non-commercial speech cannot be treated differently. The court overruled an ordinance that banned all off-premises signs (billboards) because it effectively banned non-commercial signs.

What was Members of City Council v. Taxpayers for Vincent; U.S. Supreme Court (1984)?

The Court found that the regulation of signs was valid for aesthetic reasons as long as the ordinance does not regulate the content of the sign. If the regulation is based on sign content, it must be justified by a compelling governmental interest. The Court found that aesthetics advance a legitimate state interest. The Court upheld a Los Angeles ordinance that banned attaching signs to utility poles.

What was City of Renton v. Playtime Theatres, Inc.; U.S. Supreme Court (1986)?

The Court found that placing restrictions on the time, place, and manner of adult entertainment is acceptable. The ordinance was treating the secondary effects (such as traffic and crime) not the content. The Court found that the city does not have to guarantee that there is land available, at a reasonable price, for this use. However, the city cannot entirely prohibit adult entertainment. The Court upheld a zoning ordinance that limited sexually oriented businesses to a single zoning district.

In SUM - Adult uses were adequately accommodated, and the regulations were upheld as reasonable time, place, & manner restrictions.

What was City of Boerne v. Flores; U.S. Supreme Court (1997)?
This case challenged the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The City of Boerne, Texas prohibited a church in a historic district from enlarging. The Supreme Court ruled that the act is an unconstitutional exercise of congressional powers that exceeded the enforcement powers of the fourteenth amendment. In the end the city and church came to an agreement to leave 80 percent of the church intact and allow a new 750-seat auditorium on the rear of the auditorium.
What was Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000?

Following the Supreme Court's ruling in City of Boerne v. Flores, Congress passed the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. The new act declares that no government may implement land use regulation in a manner that imposes substantial burden on the religious assembly or institution, unless the government demonstrates that imposition of burden both is in furtherance of compelling government interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest. This act was challenged in Cutter v. Wilkinson, U.S. Supreme Court (2005). The Court ruled that the Act is a constitutional religious accommodation under the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.

First Amendment Cases

Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, and Freedom of Association

Types of Cases:

- Sign Regulations;

- Sexually Oriented Businesses (SOBs) or "adult oriented businesses";

- Religion; and

-Association (group homes)

Sign zoning regulation Requirements:

- Content Neutrality (not regulating speech but the thing the speech is on;

-Clear standards;

-Time Limits - for decision making

SOBs (adult businesses):

SOBs implicate First Amendment right of expression and may not be entirely prohibited.

Zoning standards must be directed to minimizing "secondary impacts".

Impacts must be documented, but studies from other cities may be used.

Young v. American Mini Theaters, Inc.; U.S. Supreme Court (1976)

The Court upheld a zoning scheme that decentralized sexually oriented businesses in Detroit.

Alameda Brooks (2002)

Los Angeles prohibition against operating more than one SOB in the same building or structure was OK; evidence that a concentration of establishments would increase negative secondary effects could also apply to concentration of operations.

City of Erie (2000)

Regulations requiring exotic dancers to wear minimal clothing not violation of freedom of expression.

Religious Uses under the First Amendment

Concerns the:

-Establishment Clause: the laws can't advance religion or involve entanglements with it.

-Free Exercise Clause: the law is OK if valid and neutral and of general applicability.

RLUIPA Standards

-Land-use regulation that imposes a "substantial burden" on exercise of religion must be justified by a compelling government interest.

-Government may not exclude or discriminate against a religious assembly, or treat it on less than equal terms than a nonreligious assembly.


Civil Liberties for Urban Believers v. City of Chicago (2004); US District Court.

The purpose of the Chicago zoning ordinance (CZO) was to promote and protect the general public welfare, promote stability within the residential, commercial, business, and manufacturing areas, and to promote their orderly and beneficial development. The CZO permitted churches as of right in all residential zones but required special use permits in commercial and business zones. The process of getting approval for a special use permit approached $5,000. A church in a manufacturing zone or some commercial zones would require rezoning. Chicago (defendant) later amended the CZO to require all clubs, lodges, meetings halls, and community centers to obtain special use permits in all the areas in which a church was required to obtain one. The Civil Liberties for Urban Believers, an association of Chicago-area religious or non-profit corporations, along with five individual member churches (plaintiffs), challenged the CZO on several grounds: violation of the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), the free exercise of religion.

The Court held:

The district court held that any potential substantial burden that the zoning ordinance placed on free exercise had had been remedied when the ordinance was amended to place churches on an equal footing with nonreligious assembly uses.

Group Homes

Cleburne (1985)

Equal Protection (requirement of a special use permit for a group home for the mentally retarded when not required for similar uses violated equal protection).

Group Homes

City of Edmonds (1995)

Federal Fair Housing Act (zoning restrictions on unrelated persons living together subject to the Act).