Remember this case, Johnny Anderson vs. City of Hermosa Beach, concerning a city ordinance that banned tattoo parlors within the City of Hermosa Beach? The crux of the City’s argument was that a tattoo artist was merely a “tool,” a “medium” of sorts, for the expression of a client’s chosen design.
Well, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, showing a rare glimpse of reason, has struck down the anti-tattoo parlor law from the City of Hermosa Beach. The Ninth Circuit stated that the US Constitution protects “collaborative creative processes” like newspaper reporting, which is assigned and reviewed by editors, or tattooing. The Court added, “Tattooing is a process like writing words down or drawing a picture, except that it is performed on a person’s skin.”
The lawyer for the tattoo artist, Robert Moest, told the LA Times that the ruling “will overturn similar ordinances in many small cities in Los Angeles County. Local governments could still pass zoning restrictions and charge license fees to fund health inspections of tattoo parlors, which generally operate safely and have a financial incentive to do so.”
The three Ninth Circuit judges presiding over this appeal were John T. Noonan, Richard R. Clifton and Jay S. Bybee. More from the LA Times here. You can also view the Ninth Circuit’s unanimous ruling here.