In 2008, 72 percent of voters in Riviera Beach, FL, passed a ban on pants that ride below the waist exposing skin or underwear. But wait: turns out loose waistbands are a civil liberty. A judge ruled this week that the ordinance violated the 14th amendment of the constitution, because there was no legitimate government interest in the law regulating style.
The city argued that the ban on saggy pants wasn't based on sartorial concerns, but safety concerns, since residents could hide weapons in their loose-fitting clothes. The judge didn't buy that.
Police in various states around the country have cracked down on baggy pants. In Flint, MI, the new chief announced last year that he would begin arresting people with droopy drawers for indecency and make offenders face a $500 fine and up to three months in jail.
In addition to the judge in Florida, the laws have raised the concerns of the ACLU and the NAACP, which worry about the racial implications. They think the baggy ban has the potential to disproportionately target the black community.