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Justice Breyer, the fashion maven, makes a colleague swoon

WASHINGTON – A copyright dispute over cheerleading uniforms brought out the fashion maven in Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

Breyer said Monday that clothing hanging in a closet does nothing. But he said that “clothes on the woman do everything.”

Justice Elena Kagan chimed in to say Breyer’s words were “so romantic.”

It was an argument between manufacturers of cheerleading uniforms that pits industry leader Varsity Brands against Star Athletica.

But the justices invoked Dutch painter Piet Mondrian, French artist Marcel Duchamp, clothing designer Stella McCartney, actor Kate Winslet and gorilla suits as they tried to figure out whether the design of cheerleading uniforms can be protected under copyright law.

There was a lot of talk about stripes and chevrons, and how they make cheerleaders look slimmer, taller and curvier.