Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 19,800+ case briefs...

Metromedia v. City of San Diego

United States Supreme Court
453 U.S. 490 (1981)


Metromedia (plaintiff) is a company engaged in the business of outdoor advertising in San Diego, California. It owns a large number of billboards throughout the city. The City of San Diego (City) passed a land-use ordinance that greatly curtailed the types of outdoor advertisements permissible in San Diego. Signs affixed to the property where the advertised goods or services were offered were deemed permissible. Advertisements of goods or services available elsewhere were barred. Furthermore, all noncommercial advertising was prohibited unless the advertisement fit within twelve enumerated exceptions. The ordinance’s two purposes were to promote traffic safety by removing distracting advertisement displays and to improve the aesthetics of the city. Metromedia brought suit, seeking to enjoin enforcement of the ordinance. The parties stipulated that many businesses resorted to outdoor advertising because other forms of advertisement were insufficient for their needs. The parties also stipulated that the ordinance would essentially eliminate the business of outdoor advertising in the city. The trial court held that the ordinance was unconstitutional. The California Court of Appeal affirmed. The California Supreme Court reversed, holding that the City’s two purposes were legitimate and that the ordinance was constitutionally permissible under the First Amendment.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)

Concurrence (Brennan, J.)

Dissent (Stevens, J.)

Dissent (Burger, C.J.)

Dissent (Rehnquist, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 510,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 510,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 19,800 briefs, keyed to 985 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial