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Won U.S. Supreme Court

City of Erie v. Pap's A.M.

After the City of Erie, Pennsylvania passed a law prohibiting public nudity, the Supreme Court ruled that it was consistent with the Constitution.

City of Erie, Pennsylvania


The City of Erie, Pennsylvania passed an ordinance prohibiting people from intentionally appearing in public in a “state of nudity.” Pap’s A.M, a Pennsylvania organization that operated an “adult entertainment establishment,” challenged the law and said it curtailed the “expression” of its nude dancers. The U.S. Supreme Court heard the case in 1999, and Alliance Defending Freedom funded amicus efforts in support of the law.

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court held that Erie’s law was consistent with the Constitution. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor authored the majority opinion, in which the Court said that Erie had a legitimate interest in protecting the public from the negative impacts of sexually oriented businesses and that the ordinance did so without violating the rights of the dancers.

Case Documents

U.S. Supreme Court