The U.S. Supreme Court Endeavors To Define clothing, Unsuccessfully

November 12, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court endeavors to define <em>clothing</em>, unsuccessfully

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a case regarding compensation of steelworkers for time spent donning protective, er, clothing, endeavors to define clothing, unsuccessfully.

JUSTICE ALITO: Why is it that the jacket and the pants in that picture are not clothes?

MR. SCHNAPPER: In our view—well, let me—part of it—first of all, they are designed for a protective function, to protect you from catching fire.

JUSTICE ALITO: This is one of the aspects of your argument that seems really puzzling to me. 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. 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?