Public nudity

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(HOST) There’s been a problem brewing in Brattleboro regarding public nudity, and commentator Cheryl Hanna thinks she may have a creative – if unlikely – solution.

(HANNA) It seems that the Brattleboro Selectboard is engaged in a cover-up, so to speak.

You see, the Board is considering passing an anti-nudity ordinance, which would make it a crime to wear your birthday suit in public.

Apparently, some young people have been hanging out downtown, soaking up the rays in places where the sun usually doesn’t shine.

And there’s nothing town officials can do about it, since neither Battleboro nor the State has any laws banning public nudity. Yes, here in Vermont you can drink your latte, eat your sushi, read the New York Times, and drive your Volvo all in public and all in the buff!

So, I ask, is it time for this state to finally go modest?

If I were advising the Selectboard, I’d tell them not to do it!

Anti-nudity laws elsewhere have been found to be unconstitutional. Increasingly, courts are finding that nudity is a form of expression, deserving of first amendment protections. Any law’s likely to be upheld in court well after the first frost.

But if avoiding litigation isn’t enough, I ask you to consider that public nudity might be an asset in the war against terror.

Because it’s nearly impossible to hide a bomb if you’re letting it all hang out, Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff might want to encourage the Selectboard to declare Brattleboro a garment-free town.

The city could hang a sign at its entrance that says, “Welcome to Brattleboro – We’ve Got Nothing to Hide.”

Then Brattleboro could be a test case. If it remained terror free, the rest of the country might just follow its example and disrobe too.

This could be the answer to America’s security problems – become naked to remain free!

Furthermore, going naked on a national level could put many of our Constitutional quandaries to rest. After all, who needs privacy rights if you don’t have any privacy? With nothing to search and nothing to sieze, the Federal government could turn its attention to other issues, like global warming, which, by the way, would be highly desirable in the new naked economy.

For now, though, Brattleboro police will just have to figure out another way to deal with the nudity dilemma.

Maybe they could infiltrate the group with an undercover agent willing to go uncovered.

Or maybe they could just leave them alone.

Cheryl Hanna is a professor at Vermont Law School in South Royalton.

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