Copyright (c) 2003 Saint Louis University School of Law
Saint Louis University Law Journal
NOTE: ZONING ADULT BUSINESSES AFTER LOS ANGELES v. ALAMEDA BOOKS
47 St. Louis L.J. 1117
Mindi M. Jelsema*
As observed by the United States Supreme Court, the French author Voltaire eloquently illuminated the right of free speech provided to citizens of this country in one powerful statement, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."n1 The ideal embodied by this sentiment is challenged aggressively in situations where a community has a significant interest in regulating unpopular speech. n2 One example of such a situation is City of Los Angeles v. Alameda Books, Inc., n3 which was recently presented to the United States Supreme Court. In this case, the Court was asked to rule on the constitutionality of a city zoning ordinance regulating the location of adult entertainment businesses. While the decision only received plurality support, the holding in Alameda is sound. The plurality and concurring opinions, as will be shown, provide the appropriate rationale for determining whether a zoning ordinance is designed to serve a substantial government interest and is deemed to be constitutional.
It is questionable whether some types of establishments, especially those that are adult-oriented, enjoy the First Amendment's full protection.n4 Allegedly, a lesser extent of protection applies when city governments, acting within their zoning powers, inhibit the prosperity of these businesses by limiting their choice of location, n5 hours, n6 and modes of operation. n7 City governments are fully entitled to restrict the free use of land if the regulation is justified by "some aspect of the police ...
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