Nite Moves' Supreme Court peitition denied

The petition by the Latham strip club Nite Moves to get the Supreme Court of the United States to hear its appeal of a ruling by New York's highest court on a sales tax exemption was rejected today by SCOTUS. (The application is listed under "CERTIORARI DENIED" as "677 NEW LOUDON CORP. V. NEW YORK TAX APPEALS TRIBUNAL.") Having cert denied isn't necessarily a comment on the case by the court, it just means not enough justices decided it was worthy enough to be taken up by the court.

The case in question revolved around an argument by Nite Moves that it shouldn't have to pay sales taxes on cover fees and private dances because such, um, services qualified for a "dramatic or musical arts performances" tax exemption. Last October, the New York State Court of Appeals -- the state's highest court -- rejected the argument 4-3. It's an interesting case and the opinions -- especially a dissent by Judge Robert Smith -- are good reading.

Attorneys for Nite Moves had framed their petition to the Supreme Court as a First Amendment question, asking whether the state had the right "to selectively administer a tax exemption for dramatic or musical arts performances in a way that imposes a higher tax on content that a government functionary disfavors" (more links to related docs). The group of attorneys representing the club's case included a high-profile First Amendment lawyer who had successfully petitioned for a posthumous New York State pardon of Lenny Bruce. Nite Moves' case had also gotten support from attorneys for Larry Flynt. [Media Coalition] [WSJ] [TU]

So now we all miss out on the opportunity to hear the Supremes discuss the artistic merits of lap dances. But we'll still have that Colbert Report segment starring Steve Barnes.

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