Nevada AG hails ruling on brothel advertising

Chris Rizo Mar. 16, 2010, 3:41pm

Catherine Cortez Masto (D)

CARSON CITY, Nev. (Legal Newsline)- A federal appeals court decision upholding a Nevada law that bars legal brothels advertising where prostitution is illegal has won praise from state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto.

The ruling by a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel in San Francisco found that two 1979 state laws prohibiting brothel advertising in counties where prostitution is illegal are constitutional.

The laws also prohibit brothel advertising in theaters and on streets and public highways.

"The Nevada laws appropriately limited commercial speech," the appeals court panel said. "We conclude that the interest in preventing the commodification of sex is substantial."

The ruling reverses a finding by U.S. District Court Judge James Mahan of Reno that the statutes were overly broad and therefore unconstitutional.

The laws were challenged by two newspapers, the American Civil Liberties Union and Nye County brothel The Shady Lady Ranch.

The 9th Circuit panel decision issued Thursday was a win for "commonsense," said Masto, a Democrat.

"This state has had restrictions on brothel advertising for 40 years. Nevada should have the right to have reasonable limitations on this type of activity," she said. "I am pleased the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals corrected the decision by the lower federal court to overturn those long standing restrictions as violating the First Amendment."

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