BARNES v. GLEN THEATRE INC.

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
90-26
Petitioner 
Barnes
Respondent 
Glen Theatre Inc.
Decided By 
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the respondents)
(Argued the cause for the petitioners)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

Glen Theatre and the Kitty Kat Lounge in South Bend, Indiana, operated entertainment establishments with totally nude dancers. An Indiana law regulating public nudity required dancers to wear "pasties" and a "G-string" when they perform. The Theatre and Lounge sued to stop enforcement of the statute.

Question 

Does a state prohibition against complete nudity in public places violate the First Amendment's freedom of expression guarantee?

Conclusion 
Decision: 5 votes for Barnes, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Amendment 1: Speech, Press, and Assembly

No. The Court was fractured and there was no majority opinion. Chief Justice Rehnquist, in a plurality opinion, conceded that nude dancing was a form of expressive activity. But he maintained that the public indecency statute is justified despite the incidental limitations on such expressive activity. The statute "furthers a substantial government interest in protecting order and morality." The proscription on public nudity is unrelated to the erotic message the dancers seek to convey.

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BARNES v. GLEN THEATRE INC.. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 20 July 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1990/1990_90_26>.
BARNES v. GLEN THEATRE INC., The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1990/1990_90_26 (last visited July 20, 2014).
"BARNES v. GLEN THEATRE INC.," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed July 20, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1990/1990_90_26.