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Friday, December 17, 2010

This makes me happy

Constitutionally protected tattoos
 “The tattoo designs that are applied by me are individual and unique creative works of visual art,” the tattoo artist Johnny Anderson claimed in a 2006 lawsuit. They are therefore constitutionally protected speech, he argued, so the courts should strike down a ban on tattoo parlors within the city limits of Hermosa Beach, California.
In September a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit agreed, holding that “the tattoo itself, the process of tattooing, and the business of tattooing are forms of pure expression fully protected by the First Amendment.” It’s the highest-profile victory yet in the tattoo trade’s long battle against the regulatory state. . . .

Unlike previous precedents on the topic of tattooed speech, the 9th Circuit’s ruling limits state action from Alaska to Arizona and is likely to influence other jurisdictions around the country.
The Supreme Court has long recognized that symbols are speech, which entails that if the meaning of an act, image, or any other form of expression is what is considered objectionable, it is a protected freedom under the First Amendment.  That's why amendments against flag burning have always been and hopefully always will be deemed unconstitutional, as well as laws against styles of dress.  There are justifications that can be used for outlawing activities on the grounds of safety, but not on significance.  This would, I'd think, mean that obscenity laws are also unconstitutional, but it will most likely be a long time before SCOTUS agrees with me on that.  Especially since it would probably require the dissolution of the FCC.

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