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)

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 issuing citations, 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.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Zachary Robbins
Marysville superintendent could start a month early

A June start means Zachary Robbins could weigh in on a $13.5 million budget shortfall and a parental consent policy for clubs.

Arlington
Driver dies after rollover crash at Smokey Point

The deceased man, 25, reportedly sped off from police before crashing into a nearby utility pole. A woman, 19, was injured.

Epic Ford on the corner of 52nd Street and Evergreen Way in Everett is closed. The dealership has been in business for more than 50 years. (Janice Podsada / The Herald)
After 50 years, Everett’s Epic Ford dealership closes shop

It opened in 1971, when gas guzzling muscle cars like the Ford Mustang still ruled the road.

Nuno Taborda
Former Rolls Royce executive to lead Everett aerospace firm

magniX, which builds electric aircraft motors, has hired Nuno Taborda as its next CEO.

Marysville
Smokey Point Boulevard stretch closed for crash investigation

The road was closed between 136th Street NE and 152nd Street NE after a possibly fatal collision.

The Mountain Loop Highway between Darrington and Granite Falls remains closed beyond Barlow Pass. (Snohomish County)
Oops, Mountain Loop Highway only partly open

A miscommunication led Snohomish County to misstate how much of the road is open.

Monroe High School with (inset) a Facebook video screenshot from Nov. 10, 2021, which showed a white student repeatedly using racial slurs in a confrontation with a Black student.
‘It makes me angry’: Black students in Monroe report persistent racism

“Please help stop this racism,” a first-grade student told the Monroe school board Monday. Other kids reported racist slurs.

Destiny Conner, 13, takes tags off of clothing at the new Volunteers for America storefront on Monday, May 16, 2022 in Sultan, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
At Sultan’s only thrift store, teens learn teamwork, job skills

Teens with the Sky Valley Youth Coalition “stepped up and created the store” on Main Street.

Joshua Freed
Ex-Bothell mayor accused of misleading real estate investors

One Snohomish couple sued Joshua Freed after losing a $300,000 investment in a development project.

Most Read