Fashion Police Foiled in Florida
Kudos to Palm Beach County Judge Laura Johnson, who recognized what voters in Riviera Beach did not: fashion statements are in fact statements, messages about who we are, definitions of our personal autonomy. And frankly, notwithstanding the desire of 72 percent of Riviera Beach's voters for fashion conformity, it ain't none of their darn business if (presumably younger) city residents want to wear saggy pants.
The judge overturned Riviera Beach's saggy pants ordinance, which had prohibited anyone from wearing pants below the waist exposing skin or underwear. ... Offenders were cited with a $150 fine for the first offense and $300 for the second offense, considered a misdemeanor.
The ordinance was enforced only about 20 times (including the arrest of Julius Hart, whose public defender challenged the ordinance after his client spent the night in jail), which suggests that the police weren't ticketing plumbers. Do we really want to give the police discretion to decide whose below-the-waist skin is offensive? More to the point, do we really want fashion-sensitive voters deciding how we can or can't dress? How would Riviera Beach residents like it if the government banned those ridiculously huge wrap-around sunglasses that seniors love to wear?
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