Zoning Away First Amendment Rights
53 WASH. U.J. of URB. & CONTEMP. L. 1, 1998
112 Pages Posted: 27 May 2016
Date Written: 1998
To facilitate the tapering of local government regulation, this Article proposes that, as a matter of constitutional policy, the courts' should analyze zoning as a prior restraint when the challenged regulation has the potential to impact First Amendment rights. Zoning actions invalidated by the Court as prior restraints can then be adjudicated as common law nuisance actions that address those actual harms caused by the alleged offending land use activities. Admittedly, this proposal turns current constitutional jurisprudence "on its head." However, if courts can use "secondary effects" to give less protection to "lower-level" forms of expression, such as adult uses and commercial visual blight, then why shouldn't courts use the doctrine of prior restraint to give an extra level of protection to "higher-level" First Amendment rights, such as religious exercise?
Keywords: Zoning, First Amendment, Prior Restraint, Freedom of Speech, Free Exercise, Religious Exercise, Freedom of Association, Associational Rights, Adult Use Regulation, Public Nuisance, Private Nuisance, Indecency Statutes, Commercial Speech, Billboards, Public Solicitation, Public Demonstrations, Publi
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