Arizona high court holds tattooing to be protected speech

Arizona Supreme Court gets it right!  Tattooing is a form of “purely expressive activity” deserving of First Amendment protection and not merely “conduct with an expressive component.”

Via Westlaw Insider –  This month, Arizona’s highest court held that tattooing is a form of speech entitled to protection under the First Amendment.

The case started back in 2008 when Ryan and Laetitia Coleman (the “Colemans”), a couple from Mesa, Arizona applied for a permit to open a tattoo parlor by their city.  In Mesa, businesses like pawn shops, body piercing salons, non-chartered financial institutions and tattoo parlors must apply for  special permits.  The Colemans sued the city when the city denied their permit — the Colemans claimed the denial violated their right to freedom of expression.

After years of litigation, the Arizona Supreme Court overuled lower court’s dismissal of the case:  “Recognizing that tattooing involves constitutionally protected speech, we hold that the superior court erred by dismissing the complaint as a matter of law.”


~ by siouxsielaw on September 24, 2012.

One Response to “Arizona high court holds tattooing to be protected speech”

  1. I am glad to see tattoo artists get some of the same protections as other artists. I fail to see the need to regulate where tattoo parlors are located. I understand health and safety regulations. I don’t see a huge threat in having a tattoo shop move into your neighborhood.

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