Most judicial opinions are fairly dry and arcane. But yesterday, one came out of San Antonio that felt more like a blog post about a case than a ruling on one.
On Monday, Fred Biery, a federal court judge, released an order in which he denied a strip club’s preliminary constitutional challenge to a city ordinance in a surprisingly interesting way.
I’ll let him set the stage for what this case was about:
An ordinance dealing with semi-nude dancers has once again fallen on the Court’s lap. The City of San Antonio (“City”) wants exotic dancers…to wear larger pieces of fabric to cover more of the female breast. Thus, the age old question before the Court, now with constitutional implications, is: Does size matter?”
It’s not every day you see a judicial opinion with language that could be straight out of a Cosmo article.
But wait, what would a humorous opinion be without some good puns?
Plaintiffs clothe themselves in the First Amendment seeking to provide cover against another alleged naked grab of unconstitutional power. The Court infers Plaintiffs fear…the ordinance would strip them of their profits, adversely impacting their bottom line…Plaintiffs, and by extension their customers, seek an erection of a constitutional wall separating themselves from the regulatory power of the City government.”
This case arises out local ordinances from the City of San Antonio on just what sort of licensing and other requirements go along with owning what is described in this opinion as a “gentleman’s club.” The city first passed an ordinance that imposed greater regulations on these establishments when they featured nude performances. In an attempt to avoid these regulations, local establishments required their performers to wear the most minimal amount of clothing possible. The city, disapproving of this perceived loophole, passed a new ordinance regulating those establishments that featured women performing wearing clothing more revealing than a bikini top.
In the end, the judge ruled in favor of the city. He writes:
Should the parties choose to string this case out to trial on the merits, the court encourages reasonable discovery to intercourse as they navigate the peaks and valleys of litigation, perhaps to a happy ending.”
It is nice to know that things are going so well for San Antonio that it has time to focus on the important things in life: The legal and moral difference between a bikini and a set of pasties. Well, if there’s anything women’s bodies need now, it’s more regulation.
Check out the full opinion here. Besides what I’ve mentioned, it also has a full color photo (safe for work) of someone called “Miss Wiggles,” and citations ranging from Hamlet to the Bible. Judge Biery must have had a lot of fun with this one.