October 21, 2016
Saggy Pants Ban In Louisiana Fines Offenders, But Is It Racist Or Unconstitutional?

The saggy pants ban created by the Jefferson Davis Parish in Louisiana effectively makes it illegal for locals to show underwear or skin beneath their pants as of this past Wednesday.

In a related report by The Inquisitr, last year a Jersey shore town banned saggy pants in a similar fashion. Although Pauly D and the writer of the Pants On The Ground song endorsed the law, Rapper The Game denounced the ban on this fashion statement, claiming it was racist:

"N***** should sag down to their socks out there. They trying to get people to not sag, please. Can't tell people how to wear their f***ing clothes. What time are we in? This ain't the f***ing slave days. F*** that. I will go there and sag cause I am a sagging Sagittarius."
The saggy pants origin story is often attributed to men in prison who wore their jail uniform low around their hips in order to advertise their desire for a homosexual encounter. While this part of the story is claimed to be false, it is true the fashion statement began in prisons. The reason saggy pants became well known is because prisons would often give their prisoners oversized clothing that tended to naturally droop. Some prisons would also not issue belts because they could be used as a weapon or for committing suicide.

The newest saggy pants ban in Louisiana fines offenders $50 the first time they're caught wearing overly baggy jeans and every other time after they will be charged $100. The bill was intended to equate such fashion statements to "indecent and lewd behavior." Police Juror Steve Eastman explains how the new law came to be enacted:

"I had complaints from security guards around the courthouse that there was issues with people not being respectfully dressed in the courtroom area. So initially I was going to be for on the courthouse grounds, and the other jurors felt that it was important parish-wide."
Some civil liberty groups call the saggy pants ban unconstitutional because it tends to effect black men more than white men. Back in 2008, one Florida judge agreed and ruled that arresting people over low-riding pants is unconstitutional. Last year the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana wrote a letter saying saggy pants laws should not be allowed:
"To ban a particular clothing style would violate a liberty interest guaranteed under the 14th Amendment. The government does not belong in the business of telling people what to wear. Nor does it have the right to use clothing as a pretext to engage in otherwise unlawful stops of innocent people."
In the same time frame, Jerome Boykin, president of a local chapter of the NAACP, claimed a similar ban in another parish in Louisiana was not about race:
"There is nothing positive about people wearing saggy pants. This is not a black issue, this is not a white issue, this is a people issue."
Diana Collins, an NAACP youth director, claimed, "We (are) here tonight to try and put a stop to this thing and let these boys and girls look decent." While President Obama agrees with this overall message he also said government should keep out of this issue:
"Any public official who is worrying about sagging pants probably needs to spend some time focusing on real problems out there. Having said that, brothers should pull up their pants. You're walking by your mother, your grandmother, and your underwear is showing... What's wrong with that? Come on."
So far there are eight states where similar laws have been enacted. Do you think any saggy pants ban should be considered racist and thus unconstitutional?