• Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Supreme Court upheld zoning ordinances that significantly restricted the location of theaters and bookstores dealing in sexually explicit materials.

Detroit’s anti-Skid Row ordinance required that adult stores (those dealing in sexually explicit materials) be dispersed and that they be located at least five hundred feet from residential areas. The ordinance applied to all erotic materials, whether or not they were legally obscene. By a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court upheld the ordinance. In a plurality opinion, Justice John Paul Stevens made the following points: First, sexually explicit materials were entitled to less First Amendment protection than other forms of expression; second, the zoning regulations did not totally eliminate the availability of the materials; and third, the city had a valid interest in preserving the character of its neighborhoods. In a concurring opinion, Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr., emphasized that the ordinances placed only “incidental and minimal” limits on the expression of producers and the choice of consumers. The Court has often reaffirmed the basic approach of the Young decision.Zoning;Young v. American Mini Theatres[Young v. American Mini Theatres]

First Amendment balancing

Obscenity and pornography

Speech and press, freedom of

Categories: History