Brothel, ACLU, media battle for vice advertising

The Nye County brothel that popularized the term "prostidude" could one day be featured in arguments before the Supreme Court.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, on behalf of the Shady Lady Ranch and two Nevada publications, is appealing a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision limiting brothel advertising.

The appeals court's decision in March overturned the 2007 ruling of a Las Vegas judge that Nevada laws limiting brothel advertising violated the First Amendment.

Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto argued that the state has a right to prevent the "commodification and commercialization of sex," despite prostitution being legal in several counties.

The appeals court agreed, saying that "increased advertising of commercial sex throughout the state of Nevada would increase the extent to which sex is presented to the public as a commodity for sale."

In its appeal this month, the ACLU argued that the court's reasoning went against previous decisions of the Supreme Court regarding limiting advertising of "vice activities."

It cited three of the high court's decisions in the past 15 years, including one regarding Rhode Island's ban on alcohol advertising outside of the place of sale. The Supreme Court found the ban in violation of the First Amendment in part because the sale of alcohol was legal in the state.

The Shady Lady ranch, north of Beatty, made national news when it debuted the state's first male prostitute. The brothel has advertised regularly in Las Vegas CityLife, which, along with the High Desert Advocate newspaper in West Wendover, is listed as petitioners in the court filing. CityLife is owned by Stephens Media, owner of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The Supreme Court can choose not to take up the issue.

Contact reporter Lawrence Mower at lmower@review or 702-383-0440.