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Inc. Barnes v. Glen Theatre

Significance, Dissenters Vote To Uphold Nude Dancing, Nude Dancing--form Of Expression


Michael Barnes, Prosecuting Attorney of St. Joseph County, Indiana


Glen Theatre, Inc.

Petitioner's Claim

Nude dancing is a form of expressive conduct that is not protected by the First Amendment.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Wayne E. Uhl, Deputy Attorney General of Indiana

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Bruce J. Ennis, Jr.

Justices for the Court

Anthony M. Kennedy, Sandra Day O'Connor, William H. Rehnquist (writing for the Court), Antonin Scalia, David H. Souter

Justices Dissenting

Harry A. Blackmun, Thurgood Marshall, John Paul Stevens, Byron R. White


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

21 June 1991


Although they were unable to agree upon an opinion, a majority of the justices upheld the constitutionality of an Indiana statute outlawing public nudity, as the law applied to nude dancing performed as entertainment.

Related Cases

  • United States v. O'Brien, 391 U.S. 367 (1968).
  • Paris Adult Theatre v. Slaton, 413 U.S. 49 (1973).
  • Doran v. Salem, Inc., 422 U.S. 922 (1975).
  • Renton v. Playtime Theatre, Inc., 475 U.S. 41 (1986).
  • Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S. 186 (1986).
  • Dallas v. Stanglin, 490 U.S. 19 (1989).


Blasi, Vincent. Six Conservatives in Search of the First Amendment: The Revealing Case of Nude Dancing. William and Mary Law Review, Vol. 33, 1992, pp. 611-665.

Further Readings

  • Hixson, Richard F. Pornography and the Justices: The Supreme Court and the Intractable Obscenity Problem. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1996.
  • Tedford, Thomas L. Freedom of Speech in the United States. New York: Random House, 1985.
  • Van Alstyne, William W. Interpretations of the First Amendment. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1984.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1989 to 1994