The Supreme Court Weighs In: What Exactly Are "Clothes"?

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It was not too long ago that we thought "What does the fox say?" was one of the most difficult queries to answer, but the Supreme Court has us beat. In the case Sandifer v. United States Steel Corporation, the justices have had to face the very tough question of what constitutes clothing and what makes up work gear. The suit was brought about by steelworkers seeking compensation for the time it takes them to put on and take off their equipment — a necessary but time-consuming task that includes flame-retardant jackets and pants, protective leggings, and gloves. However, when the case was brought to the court, there were three schools of thought that made this matter a bit more complicated, and asked the simple but confusing — and frankly, stoner-appropriate — question: What are clothes?

One opinion is that apparel is for protection. "I don't know when a human being first got the idea of putting on clothing. I think it was one of the main reasons, probably the main reason, was for protection," said Justice Samuel Alito in yesterday's Supreme Court argument. "It's for protection against the cold, it's for protection against the sun. It's for protection against — against thorns. So you want us to hold that items that are worn for purposes of protection are not clothing?"

Though, not everyone was of the same belief, and the conversation went in very interesting circles trying to distinguish whether our attire serves as a safeguard or perhaps has other functions. "Why should we look at a word that just says 'clothes' and make that distinction as to what the purpose of changing clothing is, whether it's for sanitary reasons or whether it's for protective reasons or whether it's because people want doormen to look nice?" a fellow justice asked.

However, even as fashion editors, our own description of clothing doesn't quite live up to the quotes from the judges, who had a lot to say on the topic. Click on to read much more of the transcription, and let us know where you stand. (The Atlantic)

armstrongPhoto: Via The Atlantic.