Friday, November 23, 2012

Hair, Albert Camus and Liberty

Beatles, 1969
In 1969 Roger Thurston, principal of Marlboro High School in Massacuetes, suspeneded Robert Richards Jr. for wearing his hair in a style "reminiscent of the English singers called 'The Beatles.'" Richards v. Thurston, 304 F. Supp. 449, 451 (D. Mass. 1969).  Robert, through his father, filed a 1983 action against the principal seeking readmission to school.  Chief Judge Wyzanski (one of the few lawyers to study with both Hands, Nobel and Learned) kindly noted that Robert's hair, although long, was more tidy than that of Albert Einstein's.  Id.  The school did not have a written policy on hair length. Thus, it was not a difficult leap to find that young, hairy Robert was denied liberties protected by the Constitution.  Interestingly, Judge Wyzanski invoked Albert Camus's The Rebel to help explain the tension between Liberty and Order.  Without order, liberties are lost.  "Order can be defined properly only in terms of the liberties for which it exists, as liberty can be defined properly only in terms of the ordered society in which it thrives. As Albert Camus implied in The Rebel, order and liberty must find their limits in each other."  Id. at 452.   
Albert Camus

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