On Monday, a U.S. district court judge upheld the right of “bikini baristas” to bare their skin at coffee stands in Everett, Washington, extending an injunction against two ordinances that were unanimously passed in August in Everett.
U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman agreed with the plaintiffs' attorneys that the ordinances were likely vague and violated 14th Amendment equal-protection guarantees because they particularly targeted women, as the Seattle Times reported. She also found that the ordinances probably violate First Amendment protections of freedom of expression.
The plaintiffs included seven baristas and an owner of Hillbilly Hotties, a chain of bikini coffee stands; the city’s attorneys argued that the supposed messages of the baristas revolving around female empowerment, individuality and fierce body confidence were not the message received by customers, and thus the First Amendment wasn’t applicable. But Pechman wrote, “Courts have long recognized nude or partially nude dancing as a form of communicative conduct under the First Amendment. The city does not explain how nude dancing conveys a more “particularized” or less “sexualized” message than serving coffee in a bikini.”
Pechman continued, “Having reviewed the record, the Court observes that what Plaintiffs refer to as “bikinis” may be described more accurately as “pasties and G-strings.” However, it is not the Court’s responsibility to comment on taste or decorum, but rather to determine whether Plaintiff’s choice of clothing is communicative. The Court rules that it is.”
The city also argued that it was trying to reduce lewd conduct, prostitution and sexual exploitation of minors.
Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro pointed out that Pechman’s decision made for an interesting commentary on recent history: