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New York State Liquor Auth. v. Bellanca, 452 U.S. 714 (1981)

New York State Liquor Authority v. Bellanca

No. 80-813

Decided June 22, 1981

452 U.S. 714


Held. A provision of New York's Alcoholic Beverage Control Law prohibiting nude dancing in establishments licensed by the State to sell liquor for on-premises consumption is not unconstitutional as violating the First Amendment on the alleged ground that it prohibits nonobscene topless dancing, but instead is valid as being within the State's broad power under the Twenty-first Amendment to regulate the sale of liquor within its boundaries. Cf. California v. LaRue, 409 U. S. 109. The State's power to ban the sale of alcoholic beverages entirely includes the lesser power to ban the sale of liquor on premises where topless dancing occurs. Whatever artistic or communicative value may attach to topless dancing is overcome by the State's exercise of its broad power under the Twenty-first Amendment.

Certiorari granted; 50 N.Y.2d 524, 407 N.E.2d 460, reversed and remanded.

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