Federal Court Says 'Ladies Nights' are Legal
A recent federal court decision concerning ladies nights deserves a ladies night itself. A suit brought by a self-proclaimed men's rights activist, Den Hollander, claiming that ladies nights, and the half off drink specials that accompany the female only outings, are a violation of equal protection clause of the Constitution has been denied in favor of the ladies (Read the full opinion here).
MSNBC reports that the suit against New York nightclubs was based on the argument that because bars and clubs are licensed by the state, they are essentially state actors, making their ladies only policy a violation of equal protection. Hollander is quoted as, "fighting for mens rights before they don't have anymore left. Guys are paying for girls to party. I don't think that's fair." He plans to keep fighting in appealing the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In the decision, the court did not find private bars and night clubs to be state actors simply by virtue of the fact that they are licensed by the state. NY Daily News quotes the rationale, "liquor licenses are not directly related to the pricing scheme." Constitutional law translation: in order to allege a constitutional violation on a private party, the plaintiff must argue that there is some type of state action that makes the federal constitution applicable. However, the link cannot be minor and unrelated to the case.
Although Hollander can appeal the decision, the reality is that the necessary nexus between the state's role in granting liquor licenses and a club's decision to have ladies only promotions is not there. For now, Hollander will have to pay the extra money and wait the extra time as he watches the stream of ladies breeze by him in line ... legally.
- Ladies Nights Aren't Sexist (NY Daily News)
- Equal Protection (FindLaw's LawBrain)
- The Supreme Court and Equal Protection (FindLaw's Writ)
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