Tuesday, January 05, 2016

"[T]he singer in “Margaritaville”—seemingly far from suffering embarrassment over his tattoo—considers it “a real beauty.”

That was the 11th Circuit last week in Buehrle v. Key West.  The whole footnote:
Jimmy Buffett’s song “Margaritaville” was referenced twice in the record, once by Mr. Craig in his deposition and once by the City’s attorney in oral argument before the district court, to support the claim that inebriated tourists are likely to get and then regret tattoos if more tattoo establishments operate in the historic district. But the singer in “Margaritaville”—seemingly far from suffering embarrassment over his tattoo—considers it “a real beauty.” Jimmy Buffett, “Margaritaville,” on Songs You Know by Heart (Geffen Records 1985).
Here's the intro to the opinion by Judge Jill Pryor:
The City of Key West, Florida has barred Brad Buehrle from opening a tattoo establishment in the City’s designated historic district, pursuant to an Case: 14-15354 Date Filed: 12/29/2015 Page: 1 of 14 2 ordinance strictly limiting the number of tattoo establishments permitted to operate there. Mr. Buehrle contends that the act of tattooing is entitled to First Amendment protection and that the ordinance is an unconstitutional restriction on his freedom of expression. The district court granted summary judgment to the City, agreeing with Mr. Buehrle that tattooing constitutes artistic expression protected by the First Amendment but nevertheless finding the ordinance to be a reasonable time, place, and manner restriction. We agree with the district court’s conclusion that tattooing is protected artistic expression, but we reverse the summary judgment because, on the record before us, the City has failed to show that the ordinance is a reasonable time, place, and manner restriction.
The AP covered the case here:
A Virginia man who wants to open up a tattoo parlor in Key West can thank Jimmy Buffett's "Margaritaville" for helping him with his latest court case.
City officials twice referenced the song in opposition to Brad Buehrle's proposal for a new tattoo shop, saying drunken tourists would be more likely to get tattoos and then regret it if more ink shops were open in Key West's historic district.
But the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals said the city misunderstood the song lyrics in which the languorous narrator reflects on a brand new tattoo - but how the "Mexican cutie" got there, "I haven't a clue."
The judges wrote in a footnote to their ruling that the character in the song deems his new tattoo "a real beauty" and seems far from embarrassed about it.
The appeals court ruled last week that the city failed to show that more tattoo shops would erode the historic district's "character and fabric," The Key West Citizen (http://bit.ly/1R73FIK) reported.
According to the ruling, the city feared that "rash tourists will obtain regrettable tattoos, leading to negative association with Key West."


Anonymous said...

That case was my con law exam fact pattern, many (too many) years ago.

Paul Petruzzi said...

Let me know when they reference a "Cuban crime of passion." You know, "Messy and old fashioned."