Renton v. Playtime Theatres, Inc. Case Brief

Summary of Renton v. Playtime Theatres, Inc.

Facts: A city ordinance limited adult entertainment establishments to one corner of the city occupying less than 5% of the city’s area.

Holding: The ordinance is constitutional. A state’s interest in regulating the secondary lad use effects outweighs the less vital first amendment interest in uninhibited exhibition of material that borders on obscene.

Reasoning: The ordinance is content-neutral. The ordinance is a time, place and manner restriction because it doesn’t ban adult theatres all together, it just bans where they can set up shop. The ordinance can pass if it serves a substantial governmental interest and doesn’t unreasonably limit alternative avenues of communication.

There is an interest in preserving property rates and reducing crime in populated areas, and the state leaves an area open for adult entertainment use. So it passes the test.

Judgment: Constitutional

Brennan dissent: The ordinance isn’t content-neutral because it doesn’t regulate similar establishments like adult bookstores, massage parlors, other motion picture theatres, etc. Further, there is no reasonable alterative avenue of communication (the corner of the city that adult entertainment clubs can use doesn’t have any open lots).

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