AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- The Texas Supreme Court will decide whether a $5 tax on strip club entrance fees violates the First Amendment, the court announced Friday.
Oral arguments are set for March 25 in San Antonio, Legalnewsline.com reported.
The state is appealing a ruling by a trial court that the tax, which raises money for rape prevention programs, is unconstitutional. The decision was upheld in a 2-1 decision last year by an appeals court.
"While nude dancing 'falls only within the outer ambit of the First Amendment's protection,' it is nevertheless protected as expressive conduct," Appeals Court Justice Diane Henson said in the majority opinion.
Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott and Solicitor General James Ho, in their petition to the Supreme Court, said that stretches the Constitution too far.
"The Founding Fathers did not remotely intend for the First Amendment to prevent state and local governments from combating rape and other crimes by regulating the sale and consumption of alcohol in certain adult establishments," they said. "They could not have fathomed that the Constitution would someday be used to establish a right to consume alcohol while watching live nude entertainment in public."