An Underwear Ruling

     Some court rulings just demand to be read.
     You doubt me?
     Try resisting a ruling with this title: Victoria’s Secret Direct v. U.S.
     I keep telling you – reading rulings can be rewarding.
     My reward for looking at this one was finding that a three-judge Federal Circuit panel was divided over the proper classification of “Bra Tops” and “Bodyshapers.”
     Are they bras or are they simply “other garments”?
     I really wanted to know.
     It turns out that they’re both! They’re “a combination of two garments: a camisole … and a brassiere.”
     It’s the kind of difficult dilemma that requires a resolution and ends up dividing the judiciary.
     Favorite line from the ruling: “Ultimately, the Court of International Trade found that the Bra Top and the Bodyshaper are ‘designed to provide support to the bust of the wearer’ and in fact ‘provide a certain degree of such support when worn.'”
     Now think about the depth of discovery and the painstaking analysis required to reach that conclusion.
     Live demonstrations should have helped.
     In case you’re wondering, the court ruled 2-1 that the things should be hit with import taxes applicable to outer garments, not brassieres.
     Expect equal protection litigation on behalf of outer garments.
     
     Travel tip: If you’re going to Seattle, don’t drive there or get a rental car -parking is impossible.
     I think that’s the lesson gleaned from a Washington Court of Appeals ruling called Johnson v. City of Seattle, in which we find the tale of a guy who got ticketed and fined three times for refusing to move two vehicles off his property.
     Apparently there was no place else to park.
     I bring this case to your attention in part because it’s yet another tribute to good old American litigious stubbornness over four years on both sides, but also because it should provide some hope and inspiration to you lawyers out there.
     The plaintiff represented himself without getting anywhere until he finally got a lawyer for his last appeal – and then he won.
     There is a reason for law school.
     
     Blame the Internet: What do a Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice and a West Virginia trial judge have in common?
     Yep. They’re both judges.
     They were also both in the news last week because of sex scandals.
     It’s the Internet’s fault. In an odd and ironic twist of fate, the Internet, which has made pornography so easy to find and enjoy, has ushered in a new age of Puritanism.
     It used to be that you could be a happy pervert and still go about your job without anyone knowing or caring. Now we lose perfectly good politicians and judges just because they’re a little kinky and they’re not careful about sending messages.
     Is this a good or a bad thing?
     Beats me, but look at the news reports about these two judges.
     In Pennsylvania, a Supreme Court justice got busted for, among other things, sending and receiving sexually explicit emails.
     In West Virginia, a judge got busted for having sex in her chambers with the local community corrections director.
     I thought that was what chambers were for, but apparently this was frowned upon.
     She also, allegedly, “sent sexually explicit emails and texts to his county-issued phone and computer.”
     The problem is obvious: No one on the bench should have access to messaging technology.
     It’s for their own good and ours. We don’t want to know about this stuff.

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