The Supreme Court Monday agreed to consider letting states outlaw all barroom-style nude dancing as it voted to hear an effort to reinstate such a law from Indiana.
The court said it will review a ruling that "non-obscene nude dancing performed as entertainment is expression and as such is entitled to limited protection under the (Constitution's) First Amendment."In striking down the use of Indiana's public indecency law to prosecute nude dancing, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last May relied heavily on a 1981 Supreme Court ruling.
In that ruling, the justices said, "Nude dancing is not without its First Amendment protections from official regulations." The decision did not specify the precise scope of those protections.
The appeals court's ruling in May, reached by a 7-4 vote, said, "While clearly not all conduct is expression, dance as entertainment is a form of conduct that is inherently expressive."
Indiana's public indecency law has been applied to nude dancing since 1979, when the state Supreme Court ruled that such activity "is conduct, not speech."
The law was challenged by three women and two South Bend businesses - a bar and an adult bookstore that features live dancers.