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Justice John Paul Stevens and His Relationship to NYC’s Adult Entertainment Business

from It would take a legal scholar to fully explore the relationship between the Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, who announced his retirement on Friday, and New York City. But a quick review of the record shows that he had at least one extraordinary connection to one of New York’s enduring industries: the adult entertainment business.

In 1998, the court was asked to review the constitutionality of the drive to crack down on adult clubs and shops by the administration of the mayor at the time, Rudolph W. Giuliani. The industry’s lawyers asked the court to delay the enforcement efforts while the justices considered the case. Justice Stevens granted a legal stay.

The strip club Scores was so grateful that it renamed its Champagne Room the John Paul Stevens Room.

At the time, the club also considered acknowledging other justices that its owners considered sympathetic: perhaps there should be the Anthony Kennedy Wine Cellar, for example, a spokesman told The New York Times at the time.

The industry eventually lost the case. Scores has since gone through changes in its ownership. The club, according to its Web site, has “not only been re-opened, but has been restored to its full former glory.’’

It could not immediately be determined, as the news of Justice Stevens’ retirement filtered through the legal community, if a tribute to Justice Stevens remains at the new Scores. A woman who answered the phone declined to comment.

The lawyer for much of the city’s the adult industry today and back when Justice Stevens granted the delay, Herald Price Fahringer, said Friday that he did not recall seeing the Stevens room when he went to Scores once during the case to see what it was like.

He went early in the evening, he said. “They said, ‘You know, it doesn’t get started until 11 or midnight.’ I said, ‘I’ll be in bed by then.’’’


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