Hastings Law Journal


This March, in Metromedia, Inc. v. City of San Diego, the California Supreme Court upheld San Diego's ordinance that eliminates all off-premise billboards throughout the city. This Note analyzes the constitutional issues involved in the exercise of the local police power to eliminate billboards. These issues include whether the promotion of aesthetic values is a legitimate police power objective; whether total prohibition of a lawful business throughout a community is a violation of due process; whether local ordinances that eliminate billboards without just compensation conflict with state and federal highway beautification statutes; and whether billboard prohibitions are a denial of freedom of speech under the first amendment. The Note distinguishes billboards from other forms of commercial speech which have recently been afforded protection by the United States Supreme Court and concludes that San Diego's prohibition of billboards is a reasonable exercise of the city's police power.

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