The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
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The government has the right to make laws about dress code.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/6/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 792 times Debate No: 41819
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (0)




First and foremost I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate. The government has a right to make laws about dress code. My points include, but are not limited to:
1. Sagging or any gang-related clothing is unacceptable in most schools, as a schools objective should be to prepare students for the real world, and dressing for success is most important in job applications and other major life decisions.

2. Article 1 Section 8 of the United States Constitution states that Congress has the right "To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof." This means that Congress can legally make laws about a public dress code.

3. For men, sagging and gang-related clothes, and for women, short skirts and lots of bare skin are considered very unprofessional. Imagine walking down the street eating your McDonald's nuggets and you see a mans boxers and butt hanging out of his pants. I don't know about you but I would lose my appetite.

This is why the government should impose laws about a dress code. Not only is it beneficial for impressionable school students, but it would also provide for a more professional public society.


I have accepted the challenge to debate the Proposition regarding the statement that "The government has the right to make laws about dress code", and wish good luck to my opponent. I believe that the government does not have the right to make laws regarding dress code.
The Proposition began by saying that students in schools need to dress for success in order to get a good job and that it is vital when making life decisions. I would like to point out that while this statement may or may not be true, it does not support the statement that the government has the right to make laws regarding dress code.
Secondly, the Prop. states that the Elastic Clause (Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution) gives the government the right to make any laws that are needed for the government to be able to execute their powers smoothly. Quite frankly, a man or woman's appearance does not in anyway interfere with the power of the government. The Proposition also fails to state why that this clause is significant to the topic at hand and gives no real argument that proves why the clause is important.
Finally, the Proposition states that seeing a man's boxers will cause a person to lose their appetite, and while this statement is intended to be slightly comical, it is merely a reason backing up the reasons why the government "should" enforce a dress code, rather than CAN the government enforce a dress code.
Now on to my points.
1. Included in the first amendment of the United States Constitution is the statement that, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging free speech." This amendment gives every American citizen the right to free speech, whether it be through how a person dresses, how a person looks, how a person speaks, and so forth. This amendment is limited when the free speech is endangering national security, or harming another person, and last time I checked a person's sagging pants, or miniskirt did neither of those two things.
2. If the government had made laws regarding a dress code, it could possibly go against someone's religious beliefs. This is also unconstitutional and therefore would be considered unlawful.
3. Even though some clothing can be deemed offensive or inappropriate, removing the clothing would not be removing the message and could cause that person to take other actions worse than wearing an offensive shirt. For example if a person is wearing a shirt that bad-mouths a certain person, removing the shirt would only be removing the first layer of the problem and would not be treating the core of the problem.

This concludes the arguments for the first round by the opposition.
Debate Round No. 1


Before I refute my opponents points, I would like to point out that in the beginning of the debate, I merely stated my points but did not argue them. The Contender announced "The Proposition began by saying that students in schools need to dress for success in order to get a good job and that it is vital when making life decisions." I did not say that students need to dress for success in order to get a job, I stated that it is an important factor in getting a job. Also, the Elastic Clause is related in this topic, as a well kept and orderly society should be in place for the government and the whole country to run smoothly. I did not argue this point because, as I reviewed in the beginning, I just stated the points. As for the appetite "joke", the opposition made a good point in stating why they SHOULD, which just enforces my other points on why they CAN. Just because they can, doesn't mean they will. I have reasons for both.

Now to refute my opponents points.

The Opposition proposed that the First Amendment says that Congress cannot limit free speech, but the Elastic Clause in the Constitution has the power to overrule an amendment, in order to help our government run smoothly. In order for our government to run properly, we need a well organized society, and we can't have that with "hipsters" and their pants halfway off their butt and girls' butts showing under their miniskirt.
Secondly, I don't see how having guys pull up their pants and having girls wear longer skirts if going to affect a religious belief. I know their are a lot of religions but a religion forcing someone to wear gang clothes and sagging pants?
Third and finally, I under stand what the opponent is trying to say, and I agree. Taking away a shirt that bad-mouths someone is only removing the first layer, which is helping the problem, but after that it's the schools responsibility to take care of the problem.

Now to argue my own points.

1. Sagging, gang clothing, miniskirts, etc. are already unacceptable in most schools and workplaces. Why not make it legal in public? From a logical standpoint, it will make society much nicer and maybe it will decrease gangs and gang violence.

2. The Elastic Clause is a great example of why the government CAN enforce a dress code. As I said many times before, a clean and organized society may lead to a better run government, which may help our economy. The Opponent is correct in saying that amendment one denies limited expression, but the Elastic Clause overrules this and this now goes to why they SHOULD enforce a dress code, like I stated above.

3. In most job applications, if you wear sagging pants or a miniskirt, you will most likely not get the job. If it is denying jobs, then it shouldn't be allowed in public. Job standards should be public standards, in most situations.

This concludes the the argument by the Proposition in the second round.


At the beginning of his arguments, Pro stated that he stated his points but did not argue them. This is referred to the statement where it is said that the Elastic Clause gives a certain power to the government. What I pointed out was that this is not an argument rather than a fact. Likewise I could have stated that Article 1 gives Congress the right to pass laws. This statement does not prove why the government can make a law regarding dress code but rather that congress can take out a certain action.

Also, I would like to state that Pro keeps referring to a dress code as "No sagging pants or miniskirts", when in fact it is just a dress code that could include long hair, no blue shirts, no black tuxedos, and so forth. While sagging pants and miniskirts may not get a person a specific job, it is not the government's problem that employers do not desire to employ a person with the "hipster" outward appearance, nor is it the government's jurisdiction to force a person to have a certain outward appearance.

Pro also stated that a good point regarding why the government should enforce a dress code strengthens the points why they can enforce a national dress code. This is not a valid point since you have to take into account that just because you should do something doesn't mean you can. For example, a person might think it a good idea to overthrow the government, but in reality cannot possibly do that without major assistance. Main point, just because you should do something doesn't mean you can, which my opponent stated in his argument.

Unbeknownst to Pro, some states have indeed made laws involving dress code that have gone against one's religious beliefs. For example in a certain part of Texas, long hair on boys was prohibited, which happened to go against Adriel Arocha's religious Native American beliefs. Residents of the Needville School District passed a strict dress code that prohibited long hair because they wanted children in the area to look the same so that they well reflected small-town America. This dress code is clearly unconstitutional and like Needville the government should not have the right to make me look a certain way just so that a country, or a school district, can look pretty and therefore have a good reputation.

Pro stated that removing inappropriate clothing will make society a better place and decrease gangs as well as gang related violence, but as I have already stated, the removing the apparel will not remove the message behind it. This is not helping the situation, as Pro stated it, but rather feeding the fire and angering people for not allowing the clothes.

Also, my opponent stated that a dress code would lead to a better run government which would lead to a better economy. To this I say, "Well that escalated quickly!". On a more serious note, I would like to state that according to, one of the main problems of the U.S. economy is a major beating to the middle class, not an un-smooth government that is partially failing due to a quite-less-than-perfect-society caused partially by "sagging pants" and "miniskirts".

My opponent pointed out that the Elastic Clause overrules AMENDMENT 1, arguably the most important amendment in the Bill of Rights, but does not include a source that proves that this is true. Anyways, assuming that Congress could overrule amendment 1 via power of the elastic clause, if you take away a person's ability to express themselves freely or to believe freely in any religion, what do you have? You get a dictatorship, a tyranny, you are taking away their, our freedom. The government should not tell me what to look like just so the country gets a certain reputation based on their appearance. The government should be a force to protect my rights, not take them away. Is that not why we broke away from Britain in 1776? In the grievances towards the King included in the Declaration of Independence, it is stated that, "He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good." Like the horrendous Acts enforced on American colonists, any laws regarding dress code only limit our freedom, for what purpose? What does the government gain by telling its people to have a certain appearance.

Finally, my opponent stated again that sagging pants and miniskirts will not get you a job. Again this is not the government's fault that private employers do not wish to have that certain apparel as the face of their company. Private and public cases are two separate things and standards do not need to be the same. It is also stated that, "If it is denying jobs, then it shouldn't be allowed in public." Here is a counterexample to that point. A man is denied a job because he does not have a degree in engineering. So, because it is denying him a job, it should therefore be prohibited for him to be on American soil without a degree in engineering.

My own points:

1. Like I stated before, amendment one gives citizens the right to express themselves through their speech. I would like to point out that the beginning of this amendment, or the Establishment Clause, states that "Congress shall make no laws..." The keyword in that clause is NO as in zero, zip, nada.

2. A certain appearance of a person is also not a necessary reason to make a law banning certain attire. Making these laws would not benefit the government or the economy and would not change people's actions. If laws regarding dress code are deemed necessary, where does it stop? Congress can then make any law, which leads to tyranny and throws our freedom out the window.
In conclusion, The United States of America is a place where people of all appearances can come and be themselves, express themselves however they would like, where people can come to exercise their religion. If the government has the right to make laws regarding dress code, Oh how great our destruction will be, we will end up like any other tyrannical government just like the one we left when those 56 men signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

Debate Round No. 2


gatermouth200 forfeited this round.


Pro has forfeited the second round so this should be taken into account during the voting period.

In conclusion I would like to state that Pro used mainly examples of "should" rather than "can". When he did in fact use reasons on the "Can" points, they were not strong. For example he stated that, "the Elastic Clause in the Constitution has the power to overrule an amendment" when in fact there is no source for this. Also, the whole point of the amendments are to protect people's rights from tyrannical actions like certain laws that may be deemed "necessary" by certain political beings. Amendment 1 gives the american people the right to express themselves freely through their clothes, actions, and speech. We the american people should be able to wear who we want, be who we want, no questions asked PERIOD.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by masterdebater_69 2 years ago
'the opposition made a good point in stating why they SHOULD, which just enforces my other points on why they CAN' the Con did a good job stating that just because you should do something doesn't mean you can. And Pro keeps getting stuck on arguments why the govt. should make dress code laws when the debate is on "can" they make laws on dress code.
Posted by swagyolohipster 2 years ago
Posted by swagyolohipster 2 years ago
Gatermouth has a 0% chance of winning becasue this violates our first amendment right freedom of speach.
Posted by swagyolohipster 2 years ago
Gatermouth has a 0% chance of winning becasue this violates our first amendment right freedom of speach.
Posted by swagyolohipster 2 years ago
William Foote's arguments are much much better than gatermouth200. Like seriously what kind of name is gatermouth200??? Gatermouth's arguments make 0 since!!!
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