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Boxer Shorts, Swimming Trunks, and Indecent Exposure

Boxer Shorts, Swimming Trunks, and Indecent Exposure

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Published by Anthony J. Fejfar
In this Tract Book Essay, Anthony J. Fejfar shows how make an a legal argument by analogy by discussing boxer shorts, swim trunks, and indecent exposure.
In this Tract Book Essay, Anthony J. Fejfar shows how make an a legal argument by analogy by discussing boxer shorts, swim trunks, and indecent exposure.

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Published by: Anthony J. Fejfar on Mar 11, 2007
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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Boxer Shorts, Swimming Trunks, and Indecent ExposureA Tract Book EssayByAnthony J. Fejfar, J.D., Esq., Coif © Copyright 2007 by Anthony J. Fejfar When I was in law school, in the first year, Professor Snowdentaught by legal process class. It was an interesting class. Among othethings, Snowden argued that the only really workable epistemology was thatof Coherence Theory. But, let’s save that for another day. The mostinteresting thing that Snowden taught that semester was the jurisprudentialidea that asked, “Is X a Y for purposes of Z?” The idea here was, as Iwill explain below, that any word X might have a different meaning in adifferent context. “Poultry” in one case might include ducks and in another case might only include chickens. Let us consider the example below.In this example, Joe is walking down the parking lot in the summer inthe city park, wearing boxer shorts underwear. The park has a swimming pool, and some other kids are playing volley ball, wearing only their swimsuits. A police officer walks up to Joe and says, “I see that you are onlywearing underwear for shorts, I guess I should cite you for indecent
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exposure.” “But officer,” replies Joe, “my Dad is a lawyer and we reasonedthrough this situation and decided it was ok.” “Really, why?” asked the police officer. “Well,” said Joe, “I argue that it is ok to wear swimmingtrunks in the park, and I offer as evidence of this the fact that those guysover there playing volleyball in swimming trunks are not getting cited for indecent exposure. I further argue that boxer shorts are analogous to swimtrunks and since swim trunks are not citable, neither should be boxer shorts.”“Well,” said the police officer, “I guess I’ll have to radio my watchcommander.” (radio conversation) “Well, the watch commander agrees withyou, you are free to go.”Now, let’s think for a moment about how Professor Snowden’sformula applies to the above hypothetical situation. Recall, the formula isthe question, “Is X a Y for purposes of Z?” If we plug in some ideas fromabove we get the following: “Are the ‘boxer shorts’ a pair of ‘swim trunks’for purposes of the ‘indecent exposure ordinance’?” Here we look to howclose the analogy is and then to underlying public policy of the statute or ordinance.With respect to the closeness of the analogy it is apparent that boxer shorts and men’s swim trunks closely resemble each other. They are both atype of men’s short, having approximately the same length of leg. Both
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