This headline from my hometown newspaper, The Staten Island Advice, merges two of my passions: Jersey and the First Amendment. So Jersey has a law that prohibits strip clubs within 1,000 feet of homes, parks, houses of worship, etc. But, this exception applies only if there are other forms of adult entertainment nearby. In other words, you can only ban strip clubs in Jersey if the goods can be had nearby.
So, according to the Advance, the Supreme Court of New Jersey (SCONJ sounds so dirty), ruled that Jersey towns near Staten Island can ban strip clubs because alternative accommodations are available right across the border in Staten Island!
Which shines the red light on Staten Island.
Update: Because some of my commenters do not trust the reporting of the SI Advance, I link to the SCONJ’s opinion in Borough of Sayreville v. 35 Club, LLC. From the syllabus:
The question in this appeal is whether a court may consider, as part of its determination of an as-applied challenge to the State’s statute limiting the places where sexually-oriented businesses may operate, the availability of alternative channels of communication that are located in another state. . . .
In evaluating the adequacy of alternative channels of communication when deciding an as-applied constitutional challenge to the State’s statute limiting the places where sexually-oriented businesses may operate, trial courts are not precluded from considering the existence of sites that are located outside of New Jersey but that are found within the relevant market area as defined by the parties’ experts. . . .
First, as a practical matter, it may be far more convenient for a patron to travel a few minutes into New York or Pennsylvania than to travel twenty minutes away to Newark or Elizabeth.
And from the opinion:
Finding Kasler’s exclusion of any and all sites in Staten Island to be without justification, the Chancery Division reasoned that Staten Island was “no different than any other site in the market area . . . except for a bridge and a toll.” The Court concluded that including sites in New York, although they would potentially require the business to navigate another state’s land use regulations, was reasonable in light of the fact that New Jersey’s municipalities have different land use regulations.
This part is true. Travelling through Jersey is a bitch. Much easier to just go to SI:
For a person living close to one of our State’s borders, the trip into another state may be preferable to driving on a highway or riding a bus or train to a more distant location within New Jersey. One who lives, for example, in the shadow of the Goethals Bridge might find a site in Staten Island more easily accessible than a trip up Routes 1 and 9 to patronize a like establishment in Newark, Union or Elizabeth. Such a patron might equally find a short trip to Staten Island preferable to the routes south on the New Jersey Turnpike or the Garden State Parkway that could be used to access defendant’s preferred location in Sayreville. Our citizens regularly cross into our neighboring states for employment opportunities and entertainment of other kinds, making an analysis that would preclude any consideration of sites in those states unnecessarily restrictive in light of the behavior of our modern mobile populace.
This argument is somewhat akin to the argument Chicago made in Ezell. If someone wants target practice, they can go outside of Chicago. Judge Sykes had an point during oral argument, to the effect of, could Chicago require all journalists go to Evanstown to Northwestern for journalism training? Can the 1st Amendment be restricted based on location? Neither can the Second Amendment. The dissenting Justices would so hold to strip clubs:
It cannot be that the right to exercise expressive rights in this State under the New Jersey Constitution depends in any measure on whether alternative avenues of communication are available in another state. If our State places restrictions on disfavored speech or expressive activities, the solution is not that New Jersey citizens can exercise their rights in another state. However convenient it may be for New Jersey citizens to travel to Staten Island, that cannot be a basis to abridge their rights in this State.
However convenient it may be for New Jersey citizens to travel to Staten Island, that cannot be a basis to abridge their rights in this State. I must find a way to cite this somewhere!
Update 2: I just sent EV a note. Please, oh please, let them file for Cert. Please oh please. There is a Justice from Manhattan (Kagan), Brooklyn (Ginsburg), the Bronx (Sotomayor), and Queens (Nino). Alito is from Jersey. This is a perfect opportunity to give Staten Island, the forgotten borough, some SCOTUS Love.