Virginia Beach Noise Ordinance, Tanner v. Virginia Beach (amicus). 

The Virginia Beach noise ordinance prohibits "unreasonably loud, disturbing, and unnecessary noise." A Virginia Beach nightclub that has been frequently cited under the ordinance sued the city in state court, claiming that the ordinance is unconstitutional on its face and as applied. The nightclub presented a broad range of evidence to show that the ordinance is very unevenly enforced. Police witnesses admitted that they use their own subjective judgment to decide if something is "unreasonably loud, disturbing or unnecessary." They do not require evidence that someone actually be disturbed-- such as a citizen complaint. Along with the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, we filed an amicus brief on December 9, 2008 arguing that the ordinance violates the First Amendment. On April 17, 2009, the court held the ordinance unconstitutionally vague.


Rebecca K. Glenberg, ACLU of Virginia; Josh Wheeler, Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression.

Date filed

December 9, 2008


Virginia Supreme Court