The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

No Special Nightclub Entry for the Beautiful People in D.C.


I just noticed that D.C. public accommodation law bans discrimination by places of public accommodations based on "personal appearance." So when you're next in line for a D.C. club and you see them letting in the better-looking people—or even the more fashionably dressed people—first, tell them you'll be suing. On the other hand, since "Washington is Hollywood for ugly people," maybe D.C. nightclubs don't care about how you look, only how powerful you or your connections are.

Note that this law likely doesn't forbid certain dress codes, if "uniformly applied":

"Personal appearance" means the outward appearance of any person, irrespective of sex, with regard to bodily condition or characteristics, manner or style of dress, and manner or style of personal grooming, including, but not limited to, hair style and beards. It shall not relate, however, to the requirement of cleanliness, uniforms, or prescribed standards, when uniformly applied for admittance to a public accommodation, or when uniformly applied to a class of employees for a reasonable business purpose; or when such bodily conditions or characteristics, style or manner of dress or personal grooming presents a danger to the health, welfare or safety of any individual.

Naturally, I don't say this to praise D.C. law, just to report on it.