The 11th Circuit, with Judge Cooke sitting by designation, has ruled against a Bradenton strip club, the “Peek-a-Boo” lounge, which had challenged a ridiculous ordinance designed to take all the fun out of life:
The ordinance allows employees of sexually oriented businesses to appear “semi-nude,” id. § 2-2.5-18(b), defined as “a condition in which a person is not nude, but is showing a majority of the female breast below a horizontal line across the top of the areola and extending across the width of the breast at that point, or is showing the majority of the male or female buttocks,” id. § 2-2.5-2. Employees appearing semi-nude, however, must “remain at least six (6) feet from any patron or customer and on a stage that is at least eighteen (18) inches from the floor and in a room of at least one thousand (1,000) square feet.””
Seriously? That would mean at least half the parents at any South Florida children’s birthday party held near a body of water would be in violation of this ordinance.
Now that you mention it, I am in violation of this ordinance right now.
But the First Amendment was not designed to protect a majority of the female breast below a horizontal line across the top of the areola and extending across the width of the breast at that point, according to Judge Marcus, mostly because of the “secondary effects” (no, not that kind).
The district court took extensive evidence and, indeed, the County spared no expense, sending in a top investigator, Tom McCarron, to find out exactly what goes on in these clubs:
At Pandora’s Box, Mr. McCarren was able to pay a dancer for a private dance, during which the dancer removed the tape over one of her nipples and allowed Mr. McCarren to touch her breast, buttocks, and genital area. At Paper Moon, Mr. McCarren was able to pay a dancer to go into a back room with him, where she removed all clothing except her G-string and allowed Mr. McCarren to touch her breasts.
Mr. McCarren, you sir deserve a medal for your fierce and relentless pursuit of the facts.
(Or at least a nice massage — oh wait, that’s your next case!)
But in the end, it was Mr. McCarren’s dedicated muckraking that made all the difference:
The bottom line (ed. note — ha ha) is that the County has presented a substantial body of evidence to support its rationale for adopting the ordinance. Peek-a-Boo has failed even to address much of that evidence at all, and it has failed to show that the County’s rationale or this body of evidence was unreasonable.
In other words, “Peek-a-Boo” has bottomed out.