Green Room

New York Judge Rules It’s OK to Wear Saggy Pants

posted at 5:02 pm on August 3, 2010 by

Yo, your undies are showingA Bronx judge has ruled that wearing pants that droop well below the waist, revealing what my grandmother would have called the person’s gatkes (Yiddish for “underwear”), may look idiotic but is a Constitutionally protected form of expression.

The judge, Ruben Franco, threw out a summons issued to Julio Martinez of the Bronx for wearing his trousers so low as to let it all hang out. In his statement, the judge noted that “the Constitution still leaves some opportunity for people to be foolish if they so desire.” Franco added a caveat to his own ruling that may come back to bite him in the—well—gatkes. The stipulation was that “people can dress as they please, wear anything, so long as they do not offend public order and decency.”

So where does the good judge draw the line? The gentleman (and I use the term reservedly) in the photo on this page might strike some as crossing the line. And if this manner of dress is considered appropriate for public consumption, then what about the person who takes it one step further and heads outdoors in just his undershorts? Or who takes it a step beyond that and ventures out of doors with no pants at all? The ruling, in other words, has already begun its descent down the proverbial slippery slope.

In an effort to clarify his ruling, the judge only complicated matters by formally defining “offensive conduct” as “public in nature and” causing “inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm to a substantial segment of the public.” This lends a capricious aspect to the ruling by muddying it up with emotionally words (such as “alarm”) and unspecific ones like “substantial segment of the public.” Which is tantamount to saying that if Julio Martinez had bothered more people or elicited a stronger reaction by “wearing his pants down below his buttocks exposing underwear” (the judge’s description), then the ticket he was issued would have been fitting and legal. Where does that leave the rest of us?

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One of the many disadvantages of replacing fathers with judges. I can remember a time when this young numbskull’s adherence to common-sense norms of attire would have arisen from his respect for the Old Man. The rest of society didn’t have to waste time adjudicating his flights of sartorial idiocy.

It was a better system.

J.E. Dyer on August 3, 2010 at 7:15 PM

Well, if it is acceptable at the beach…

Is ‘builder’s bum’ going to be a punishable offense?

lexhamfox on August 3, 2010 at 8:45 PM

The Florida saggy pants law was ruled unconstitutional as well. We have more than enough laws, folks. What exactly is so criminal about the exposed human body? The obvious answer is — nothing.

GnuBreed on August 4, 2010 at 5:13 AM

I would have smacked my kid, back of the head, if he ever attempted to leave the house dressed like that. Therein lies the solution.

Willie on August 4, 2010 at 9:42 AM

Would the Judge cite for contempt if this was in his courtroom ? On the bright side, punk can’t run if he’s chased by the po-po…

Jeff2161 on August 4, 2010 at 12:37 PM

Someone please enlighten me where/when this fad started? I just don’t get it. The other day at a stoplight I watched a kid standing on the corner trying to retrieve something from his pant pocket that were hanging around his knees. I never saw him get what he wanted.

So people are given the freedom to dress like this (why they want to I have no idea), yet at what point does it cross over into indecent exposure? I dunno. Personally, I don’t like seeing their underwear nor do I like my kids seeing it.

The main issue would be that this remains a local matter and Nanny Government doesn’t step in and create a federal dress code.

conservative pilgrim on August 4, 2010 at 12:47 PM

If he has the freedom to dress like that, I have the freedom to point and laugh!

Mary in LA on August 4, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Someone please enlighten me where/when this fad started? I just don’t get it.

conservative pilgrim on August 4, 2010 at 12:47 PM

Long story short: it started as a non-verbal code in jails, first migrated ‘outside’ to young black punks, and then got picked up as another youth fad.

Dark-Star on August 4, 2010 at 2:57 PM

Johnson’s legacy.

Inanemergencydial on August 4, 2010 at 3:00 PM

Long story short: it started as a non-verbal code in jails, first migrated ‘outside’ to young black punks, and then got picked up as another youth fad.

Dark-Star on August 4, 2010 at 2:57 PM

I’m afraid to ask, but here it goes…..what did the “non-verbal code in jails” mean?

conservative pilgrim on August 4, 2010 at 3:50 PM

Or who takes it a step beyond that and ventures out of doors with no pants at all?


Grab a guitar and brand one’s self
.

Plumbers’ crack are nothing new. Neither is butt cleavage. IMNSHO, this is a bigger problem with young girls showing their thongs and buttcracks. No complaints about that though.
Something specific seems to have forced this issue to a head despite being old news.

The Race Card on August 4, 2010 at 3:54 PM

No complaints about that though.

Says who?

Howard Portnoy on August 4, 2010 at 5:05 PM