On appeal from the Superior Court, Appellate Division, whose opinion is reported at 122 N.J. Super. 476 (1973).
For affirmance -- Chief Justice Hughes and Justices Hall, Mountain and Sullivan. For reversal -- Justices Pashman and Clifford. Pashman, J. (dissenting). Clifford, J. (dissenting).
The judgment is affirmed substantially for the reasons expressed by the Appellate Division.
PASHMAN, J. (dissenting). I join in the dissent filed by my colleague Mr. Justice Clifford. I must, however, make it clear that I believe there is a legitimate state interest in the appearance of our police officers. The public must be able to recognize on sight a law enforcement officer in the "uniformed" division. Indeed, the presence of a uniformed officer has been demonstrated to deter criminal activity. I am satisfied that uniformity of dress plays a significant role in the discipline of a police department.
On the other hand, hair grooming and personal appearance are different matters. In my opinion, public officials and employers, both public and private, have grossly over-reacted to different hair styles. There is not a scintilla of evidence to support the position that the camp of "short hairs" possesses a superior aptitude or attitude toward their studies or a greater proficiency at their employment than do their "long hair" counterparts.
It is a gross injustice to determine the merit and character of a person by his appearance alone. Those among us who steadfastly continue to perpetuate such nonsense are reveling in self-delusion. Their inability to cope with changing times is reflected in their intransigence in placing themselves in the position of a sole moral arbiter of what is acceptable and good and what is not.
It appears to me that many governmental superiors and employers are simply exhibiting a distaste for long hair styles and nothing more. Our differences in life-style are as distinct as our differences in religion and politics, and, therefore, we should be able to hold and express such without undue interference.
A governmental employer should bear the onus of justifying the legitimate state interest necessary to establish and sustain a regulation of this nature.
CLIFFORD, J. (dissenting).
It is bromidic to say that times change, but perhaps this is a case where a bromide is in order. [ Bishop v. Colaw, 450 F.2d 1069, 1078 (8 Cir. 1971) (Aldrich, J. concurring)].
Special Order 71-15 of the Newark Police Department sets "Standards of Appearance" for "hair styles and facial hair growths" worn by municipal police officers.*fn1 The Chancery Division ...