Fed Judge Upholds City Nudity Ban

US Federal Judge Edward Chen of the District Court for the Northern District of California
US Federal Judge Edward Chen of the District Court for the Northern District of California

The last bell has rung in the fight between the pro-nudity camp and the City. On Tues. the 29th a Federal Judge reviewing the case ruled the City’s pick and choose nudity ban didn't violate anyones First Amendment rights of self-expression.

The new law, penned by the Castro’s own Dist. 8 Sup. Scott Wiener, will go into effect as planned on February 1st, 2013.

Federal Judge Edward Chen, an Oakland native who has been on the bench since his appointment in May 2011 stated in an 18 page opinion that, “in spite of what plaintiffs argue, nudity in and of itself is not inherently expressive.”

Judge Chens' decision upholds the tenor of a precedent ruling made by the the US Supreme Court around a similar nudity case where the violation of a citizen's First Amendment, freedom of expression, right to be nude was at the core of it’s substantive argument.

San Francisco plaintiffs had hoped they might have a unique angle with this particluar suit citing how the SF nudity ban is a pick and choose law in regards to where citizens may or many not show the full monty. Naked at Folsom Street Fair or during Bay to Breakers? Yes. Nude sunbathing in Jane Warner Plaza or Golden Gate Park? No, not so much.

A nude man protests against the ban on nudity in San Francisco (Photo: Reuters)
A nude man protests against the ban on nudity in San Francisco (Photo: Reuters)

The judge said while this may be unfair of the City but its not, in this context, violating anyone's rights.

Legal eagle for the four nudist activists who brought the suit, attorney Christina DiEdoardo, speculated her clients may want to appeal. She thinks that if they can show how their individual rights are being legally disregarded once the ban is in place they would stand a better chance of winning.

The judge seemed open to the idea if, and only if, there is absolute proof of First Amendment infringement.

Last day for the public to strut their junk without fine, ticket or jailtime is Thursday, Jan. 31st. Forecasters predict SF weather will be sunny, cloudless, with a slight breeze and top out at 62 degrees for folks out there who want to make use of the final day to be as naked and free as Adam and Steve/or Eve.