French mayors do not have the right to ban burkinis, the French Council of State ruled, suspending the bans already in place in a number of French cities and towns.
Arguments in court this week focused on the southern town of Villeneuve-Loubet, near Nice. But the state council's ruling could set a precedent across the country. So far, 15 French towns banned the full-length swimsuit, which covers the whole body except for the face, hands and feet.
Officials say the ban on the burkini -- worn mostly by Muslim women -- is a response to growing terror concerns. Human rights activists argue that banning the burkini is illegal, and that pushes to outlaw the garment are Islamophobic