Hey, the Chinese character for "love" is now officially protected by the First Amendment. The Ninth Circuit ruled today that Hermosa Beach's effective ban on tattoo parlors is unconstitutional, since, as the opinion puts it, "A form of speech does not lose First Amendment protection based on the kind of surface it is applied to." This is the first time a federal appeals court has ruled on the tattoo shop issue, according to the AP, and its decision reverses many made by lower courts. The case was brought in 2007 by tattooist Johnny Anderson, who wanted to move his Yer Cheat'n Heart Tattoo shop from Gardena to Hermosa. He was refused by the city, which called tattoo parlors a threat to public health and safety. Hermosa Beach's city attorney issued a statement today saying "The Hermosa Beach City Council will review the Court of Appeals ruling at an upcoming meeting and determine its next course of action."
· Appeals court ends tattoo parlor ban in Calif city [AP]
· Tattoos are free speech protected by Constitution, U.S. appeals court rules [LAT]