Texans headed to a strip club tonight will indeed have to pay a $5 entrance fee. The state's all-Republican Supreme Court overruled lower courts today and deemed the so-called "pole tax" constitutional, the AP reports. The fee has been levied since 2007 on clubs that both serve booze and present nude dancing; the money, which has been stashed in a state account pending the outcome of the legal challenges, is to be used for sexual assault prevention programs and health care for the uninsured.
In overruling the lower courts' decisions, the state Supreme Court judges deemed $5 too small to be considered a restriction on the free expression of nude dancing. They also said the state has an interest in curbing the established link between booze, live nude girls, and sexual violence. "Remove the alcohol, avoid the fee," said an attorney who argued the case for the state. "Today's ruling is a big win for victims of sexual assault." An association representing strip clubs may appeal to the US Supreme Court.