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Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma, Tonga

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Virginia is for lawyers

Virginia is on track to winning the looney state title away from Oklahoma. Here is the text of a bill that passed the Virginia House of Delegates by a 60-34 vote on Tuesday:

HOUSE BILL NO. 1981

AMENDMENT IN THE NATURE OF A SUBSTITUTE

(Proposed by the House Committee for Courts of Justice on February 4, 2005)

(Patron Prior to Substitute--Delegate Howell, A.T.)

A BILL to amend the Code of Virginia by adding a section numbered 18.2-387.1, relating to indecent display of below-waist undergarments.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That the Code of Virginia is amended by adding a section numbered 18.2-387.1 as follows:

§ 18.2-387.1. Indecent display of underwear.

Any person who, while in a public place, intentionally wears and displays his below-waist undergarments, intended to cover a person's intimate parts, in a lewd or indecent manner, shall be subject to a civil penalty of no more than $50. "Intimate parts" has the same meaning as in § 18.2-67.10.


(Thank-you to the Roanoke Times for the bill's text).

Also known as the "Droopy Drawers Bill", its purported intent is to stop (mostly) teenage boys from "sagging", and (mostly) teenage girls from displaying the tops pf their thong underwear above the waistbands of low-rider/hiphugger pants.

Let's see... where to begin...

Vagueness? How does one go about displaying one's below-waist undergarments in a lewd or indecent manner? Is it enough that one intentionally wears and displays the undergarment? Or must the wearing and displaying be intentionally lewd or indecent? What is indecent? How is it lewd?

Arbitrary and capricious? One is permitted to display her or his above-waist undergarments, regardless of whether the display is lewd or indecent. Bra-ha-ha!!! The proposed statute would not penalize wearing two pairs of "regular" pants and sagging only the outer pair-- which would give the same visual effect to the observer, but would escape the underwear stipulation.

Of course, the obvious way for kids to evade the law would be to sag to the lowest limit of the law, but do so while underwear-free. Would that lead to a reduction in sales of underwear? Would Virginia or teenagers get the credit/blame for undermining the undergarment industry, as did Clark Gable after 1934?

Funny anecdote: When I started law school in 1997, one of the brightest 1Ls was a young man from Arkansas who looked and acted just exactly like a stereotypical grind (pale, slightly soft, very intense), except that that his personal sartorial style included wearing ball-caps brim-backward and sagging his pants. Kind of "Fayetteville ghetto". He graduated as one of the top 10 in our class, and last I heard he was working in a white-shoe law firm doing corporate stuff.

Just the kind of riff-raff Virginia would nail with this law.