April/May 2005 (v7 i6)
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U.S. Congress bars sixth-grader from wearing mini-skirt
Federal courts to settle heated, drawn-out legal dispute
by Ryan B. Martinez, Associate Editor

WASHINGTON, DC — In a temporary victory for small government, U.S. Congress passed a bill Thursday that would prohibit Samantha Anderson, a 12-year-old girl from Des Moines, Iowa, from wearing a skirt that stops just above the knee.

The Samantha Anderson Modesty Act, which passed 276-158 in the House of Representatives, is the latest development in a controversy that has pit the GOP-led legislature against the federal courts.

"It has fallen on us lawmakers to protect America from decadent, out-of-touch activist judges," said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas. "The people have spoken: they want the government — notably that den of fornication, the judiciary — to stop meddling in their personal lives."

He continued: "Especially when it comes to Samantha Anderson, whose ungodly whorishness has threatened the social fabric of our lives and indeed the future of all existence as we have come to know it."

The bill, which has no legal impact on anyone other than Anderson, is the latest volley in a months-long legal dispute that began with a spat between the girl and her mother.

"I was at the mall food court with Sammy, getting after her about her skirt," said Deborah Anderson, Samantha's mother. "When all of a sudden this man in a suit and sunglasses came up to me, handed me a business card and whispered something about a 'battle for America's soul' or something gosh-darn loony like that!"

Deborah awoke the next morning to learn from a 24-hour news channel that a team of high-powered lawyers had been appointed to represent her in a lawsuit against her own daughter.

Hired without Deborah's consent by an unknown benefactor, the lawyers filed a court order to make Samantha cease wearing mini-skirts on grounds of public indecency. The American Civil Liberties Union volunteered to represent the sixth-grader.

"Sammy's a good, clean girl," said Deborah, who does not approve of the litigation but who gets a rifle butt to the skull whenever she speaks up. "She certainly doesn't deserve the full wrath of the U.S. government."

After a series of decisions and appeals in state courts, the case swiftly moved up to federal levels, at which point U.S. congressmen — most of them Republican — drafted law after law to keep the case in the courts until a judge might place an injunction on Samantha.

When no federal judge gave the desired decision, Republican lawmakers accused the judiciary of a liberal bias rooted in moral looseness and debauchery. Their claims have been backed by the Religious Right, whose leaders have condemned what they call an assault on the "Culture of Modesty" by "decadent heathen judges."

The judges, for their part, say that the Anderson case is simply not a federal issue.

"Not only is it not our jurisdiction, but [taking the case] tarnishes the Court as an institution," said Supreme Court Justice David Hackett Souter, eating in his opulent dining hall as oil-slathered, loin-clot—wearing men fanned him with ostrich feathers. "A little girl's fashion dilemma simply has no bearing on basic constitutional questions."

He added: "Sidonius, hand me my bucket. I should like to vomit."

While religious conservatives rally around Deborah Anderson's legal counsel, others protest what they perceive as a gross breach of Samantha's privacy rights. Joining several Democrat legislators, activist celebrities such as U2 frontman Bono have spoken out in support of Samantha.

"When I found out that all of America had taken intense notice of one scared little girl," said Bono, "I knew I had to use my considerable clout to bring attention to the fact that we shouldn't be paying so much attention to her."

Like others, Bono points out that the controversy has diverted Congress from taking on more important issues in session. Discussion of the Anderson bill has pushed back congressional efforts to regulate national toilet paper configurations and to limit the amount of sweaters a dog owner can put on his or her pet at one time.

The drawn-out legal battle may end next week, when the Supreme Court decides on the bill's constitutionality.

Samantha will remain in high-security lockdown until the dispute is resolved.
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