WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court today gave cities wide authority to limit the spread of adult theaters, ruling 7 to 2 that such establishments may be limited to a specific area of town no matter how undesirable the location.
The decision in the case from Renton, Wash., a suburb of Seattle, expanded on a 1976 ruling in a case from Detroit that said cities could limit the number of adult theaters in one area.
"The Renton ordinance, like the one in (the Detroit case), does not ban adult theaters altogether, but merely provides that such theaters may not be located within 1,000 feet of any residential zone, single- or multiple-family dwelling, church, park or school," Justice William H. Rehnquist said, writing for the majority.
Two Justices Dissent
In dissent, Justice William J. Brennan Jr., joined by Justice Thurgood Marshall, called the ordinance unconstitutional because it "discriminates on its face against certain forms of speech based on content."