NEW ORLEANS—The ACLU of Louisiana has sent an open letter to the members of the Terrebonne Parish Council regarding their proposed "saggy pants" ordinance. The letter reads, in part:
[C]lothing is a form of expression protected under the Constitution of the United States. To ban a particular clothing style would violate a liberty interest guaranteed under the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution. In Kelley v. Johnson, 425 U.S. 238, 244 (1976), the US Supreme Court assumed without deciding that individuals have a liberty interest in their personal appearance. This has been affirmed by the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal among others Lansdale v. Tyler Junior College, 470 F.2d 659, 663 (5th Cir. 1972) (en banc), cert. denied, 411 U.S. 986 (1973) . The government must demonstrate a rational basis for its ban – and Terrebonne Parish has no legitimate rational basis for regulating the attire of its residents.
The letter in its entirety may be found here.