Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Justices Say No to City Appeal to Enforce Law on Lingerie Shops Denied

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Justices Say No to City Appeal to Enforce Law on Lingerie Shops Denied

Article excerpt

The U.S. Supreme Court refused yesterday to let Jacksonville officials enforce a 1995 ordinance that mandated sexually oriented businesses such as lingerie shops obtain special exceptions before operating in almost any part of the city.

The high court denied without comment a city appeal filed against a May decision by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversing U.S. District Judge Harvey E. Schlesinger's earlier ruling upholding the constitutionality of the challenged ordinance.

The latest actions leave intact a ruling that called the zoning ordinance an unlawful "prior restraint" on those businesses' freedom of expression.

The case had been pending before the justices since August. They apparently postponed consideration while studying a nude dancing dispute from Erie, Pa. In that case, the justices last week upheld a public nuisance law that requires dancers to wear pasties and G-strings.

Gainesville attorney Gary Edinger, who represented five of the area lingerie shops in the case, said the high court's action came as no surprise. After Jacksonville enacted a new adult entertainment law, he said there was "literally no place" for shops that offered private rooms for lingerie shows to move to -- until now. He predicts at least two of his clients will seek to reopen in the near future.

"The [city's] decision to take the appeal to the Supreme Court was a political decision and I don't think it had much in the way of legal merit. . . . It means my clients will be looking for suitable sites," he said. "It also means they will have a hearing before Judge Schlesinger and he will do a number of things. He will be required to enter a judgment in favor of the plaintiffs, finding portions of the ordinance unconstitutional. Then we will have a trial on the issue of damages and there will also be attorneys' fees awarded. …

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