"The cities have been granted a lot of leeway to ban topless dancing in the interests of maintaining decency, and bars have already fought it on freedom-of-speech grounds and lost," says TIME legal correspondent Adam Cohen. "So they needed a new hook." Their breast defense? "Naked bias." Lawyers for the bar argued that the law wrongly distinguished male topless dancing from female. It didn't work, with the high court deferring without comment to this appeals court ruling from last March: "We must recognize that the public reactions to the exhibition of the female breast and the male breast are highly different." Just ask Vanessa Doe.
WASHINGTON: For one day, anyway, official talk about the female anatomy wasn't confined to Capitol Hill. The Supreme Court on Monday let stand a New York City zoning ordinance that banned topless dancing at the Cozy Cabin, a bar in the NYC borough of Queens -- but not without a bare-knuckle fight from the bar's owner and a dancer identified in the case only as "Vanessa Doe."