By Morality In Media, Robert Peters
This survey encompasses federal and state case law on the global issue of nude
dancing. Included in the survey are cases dealing with several subtopics related to nude
dancing. These topics include: First Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, secondary
effects, content based, zoning, prompt judicial review, police powers, alternative avenues
of expression, content-neutral, time place and manner, and governmental interest. Each
case summary is preceded by a list of the terms found in the full decision. This allows
the reader to search on these terms within the document to find cases dealing with the
specific legal issue confronting the reader.
The cases are organized by jurisdiction; federal courts, then state. Within each
jurisdiction, the cases are arranged in reverse chronological order to allow the reader to
see the development over time of the state of the law dealing with nude dancing in each
The survey is intended to provide a comprehensive summary of case law, but does
not include legal advice for regulating nude dancing or an analysis of the constitutionality
of local ordinances.
Because nude dancing has been found to implicate the First Amendment’s right
to freedom of expression, nude dancing ordinances must deal only with the “secondary
effects” of such businesses, and not otherwise be aimed at the expressive elements of
nude dancing. Thus, ordinances must be “content-neutral”; regulating only the “time,
place, and manner” of the dancing, and not the dancing itself. The decisions in this
survey all find the basis of their reasoning from several U.S. Supreme Court decisions,
most notably City of Renton v. Playtime Theatres, Inc., 475 U.S. 41 (1986); Barnes v.
Glen Theatre, Inc., 501 U.S. 560 (1991); City of Erie v. Pap’s A.M., 529 U.S. 277 (2000);
and City of Los Angeles v. Alameda Books, 535 U.S. 425 (2002).