The dress code requires quick-service employees to wear clothing that covers the upper and lower body. (City of Everett)

The dress code requires quick-service employees to wear clothing that covers the upper and lower body. (City of Everett)

Bikini baristas could take dress code fight to Supreme Court

For now, they’ve requested a rehearing after the federal court sided with the city of Everett in July.

EVERETT — If a recent request is denied in the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a group of local bikini baristas may ask to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

They’ll likely know their next steps within a few months.

In early July, a panel of three judges on the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals sided with the city of Everett in a lawsuit filed by the baristas. Since then, the baristas have petitioned for a rehearing “en banc” in the same federal court before a larger panel of judges.

It’s rare for the appeals court to approve such a request, said Derek Newman, a lawyer for the baristas.

“It’s really difficult to get a circuit court to hear a case en banc. It’s almost impossible,” he said. “It’s almost the same as asking the Supreme Court of the United States to hear a case.”

They may have a chance because the decision conflicts with past federal court decisions, he said.

If denied, the baristas plan to ask the Supreme Court to hear their case.

The saga between Everett and bikini baristas has been ongoing for a decade.

It all started in 2009, when the Everett Police Department began to receive complaints about the drive-thru coffee stands.

The department investigated and found cases of prostitution and indecent exposure. Police began to prosecute, but found the method ineffective.

The department began to work with the city to find a legislative fix.

The city created a Dress Code Ordinance that said quick service workers must wear at least a tank top and shorts.

The baristas sued the city, arguing that their outfits were a way to express themselves and that the code violated their First Amendment rights.

In 2017, a U.S. District court judge banned the city from enforcing the law. The judge ruled that the code couldn’t be put in place until the lawsuit was resolved.

The city asked the 9th Circuit appeals court to review the enforcement ban. The two sides went to court in February.

Then last month that panel sided with Everett.

“The City looks forward to enforcing its ordinances consistent with the Court’s decision and in the best interest of the community,” a statement from the city says.

A few weeks later the baristas filed the petition for a rehearing. Now they’re waiting to hear back.

Stephanie Davey: 425-339-3192; sdavey@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @stephrdavey.

Amelia Powell, who has worked as a bikini barista, is seen here in Nov. 2017 in Seattle. (Rikki King / Herald File)

Amelia Powell, who has worked as a bikini barista, is seen here in Nov. 2017 in Seattle. (Rikki King / Herald File)

More in News & Comment

Matt Marshall, leader of the Washington Three Percenters gun rights group, addresses a crowd rallying for Second Amendment rights Jan. 17 at the state Capitol in Olympia. Marshall condemned Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, which expelled Rep. Matt Shea from the Republican Caucus. Marshall announced his candidacy for the 2nd District seat held by House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox. Photo by Cameron Sheppard, WNPA News Service
Gun rights advocates rally at Capitol

Criticism levied at Matt Shea investigation, Republican leadership.

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson (center) announced a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson in a press conference Jan. 2. Debbie Warfield of Everett (left) lost her son to a heroin overdose in 2012. Skagit County Commissioner Lisa Janicki (right) lost her son to an overdose of OxyContin in 2017. They are joined by Rep. Lauren Davis of Shoreline (second from right), founder of the Washington Recovery Alliance. (TVW screenshot)
AG Bob Ferguson talks lawsuits, gun control

Washington state Attorney General stopped by Sound Publishing’s Kirkland office.

Sen. Mona Das, D-Kent, the primary sponsor of SB 5323, speaking on the bill. (Photo courtesy of Hannah Sabio-Howell)
Proposed law adds a fee to plastic bags at checkout

Senate passes bill to ban single-use plastic bags, place 8-cent fee on reusable plastic bags.

Renton Education Association board voted out by union

Union members use their power to remove leaders from office

In November 2019, Washington voters approved Initiative 976, which calls for $30 car tabs. Sound Publishing file photo
Republicans try to guarantee $30 car tabs amid court hangup

Lawmakers sponsor companion bills in the House and Senate.

King County Metro’s battery-electric bus. Photo courtesy of kingcounty.gov
King County could bump up Metro electrification deadlines

Transportation generates nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the state.

Gov. Jay Inslee delivered his 2020 State of the State Address on Tuesday, Jan. 14. (Photo courtesy of Washington State Office of the Governor)
Gov. Inslee delivers State of the State Address

By Leona Vaughn, WNPA News Service OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee stood… Continue reading

A 50-minute film called “Spawning Grounds,” which documents the effort to save a freshwater variety of kokanee salmon from Lake Sammamish, is finally ready for its debut in North Bend on Jan. 18. (Screenshot from film)
Spawning Grounds: Lake Sammamish kokanee documentary premieres Jan. 18

The film tracks the ‘all hands on deck’ effort to save the little red fish from extinction.

Family, friends of paraplegic man killed in shootout with Federal Way police outraged over his death

Family says the 23-year-old man’s death was “senseless”; accuse police of excessive force and withholding information that the man used a wheelchair.

Most Read