9th Circuit Strikes Down Ban on Tattoo Parlors as First Amendment Violation
A federal appeals court judge under fire for his signature on two so-called “torture memos” has written an opinion striking down a ban on tattoo parlors.
Judge Jay Bybee of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in his opinion (PDF) that tattooing is an expressive activity protected by the First Amendment, according to stories in the Recorder and the Associated Press. Bybee and two other judges on the appellate panel ruled in a challenge to a tattoo parlor ban by the city of Hermosa Beach, Calif.
The ruling is the first by a federal appeals court to address First Amendment protections for tattoo parlors, AP says. Several lower courts have reached the opposite conclusion and upheld tattoo parlor bans.
Bybee signed two memos authorizing harsh interrogations of terrorism suspects when he led the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel in 2002.