Decisions: No Guilt-by-Beard

James Forstner was a well-regarded juvenile probation officer in San Francisco. He was, that is, until last fall when he began sporting a beard. Shave it off, he was ordered. Forstner's charges would get a bad "impression of beatnikism," said the boss. When he refused, Forstner was fired. When the civil service commission rejected his appeal, he went to state superior court. "Maybe every beatnik wears a beard," argued his hairsplitting lawyer, "but not every person who wears a beard is a beatnik."

"Arbitrary, capricious and violative of due process," ruled smooth-shaven Judge Joseph Karesh. "There is no end to...

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