Yesterday, I wrote this in response to a judge’s moralizing about an American’s speech while upholding its constitutional protection:
For what it’s worth, I don’t think the judges had any business inserting the court’s opinion that it has little regard for her vulgar epithets. So what? If it has no bearing on how the case should be interpreted under the law, keep the subjective disdain out of the ruling. I might accept “While the court recognizes that A.B.’s use of vulgar epithets is unpopular, …” or some such pandering to community morals. I doubt it, but even then, speech is speech.
Should strippers be allowed to touch themselves on stage? Orange County thinks not. County law specifically prohibits “fondling, stroking or rubbing of human genitals or anus.”
On March 30, however, a federal judge in Orlando struck down that and other portions of the county’s adult entertainment code as unconstitutional impediments to free speech. “Some self-touching, even of the genitals or anus — no matter how crude or distasteful — may be ‘central to the expressive nature of the dance itself,’” ruled Judge John Antoon II, quoting from a 2005 ruling from a case in Georgia.
“The First Amendment cannot both protect the expressive element of erotic dancing and also restrict and contort it by prohibiting the very movements that contribute to its erotic message,” Antoon wrote. “While the public en masse may not approve of such explicit performances, the First Amendment does not turn on generally accepted views of propriety.”
Bingo. Objective interpretation of the Constitution without the subjective opinion about the content being protected. Exactly as it should be. Bravo to Judge Antoon.