Thursday, June 25, 2009

Yes, Even Scalia Thought This Was Crap

Amazingly enough, the Roberts court sent down an 8-1 decision that school officials strip searching 13-year old girls just might be mildly unconstitutional.

In a closely watched case filled with poignant facts, the court ruled 8-1 that Arizona school officials violated student Savana Redding's Fourth Amendment rights when they searched her down to her bra and underpants. Officials were looking for pain relievers, which they didn't find.

"The content of the suspicion failed to match the degree of intrusion," Justice David Souter wrote for the majority.

The ruling involving Redding, who's now a college student, has been anticipated by schools nationwide, which must balance concerns about student privacy with adult fears of drug abuse and school violence.

The Safford Middle School nurse and administrative assistant who searched Redding in October 2003 told her to remove her stretch pants and T-shirt. They then directed her to pull her bra to the side and shake it, and to pull out the elastic on her underpants.

They were looking for prescription-strength ibuprofen and over-the-counter naproxen, which another student had suggested might be hers.

"What was missing from the suspected facts that pointed to Savana was any indication of danger to the students from the power of the drugs or their quantity, and any reason to suppose that Savana was carrying pills in her underwear," Souter wrote.

The "combination of these deficiencies was fatal" to the legitimacy of the search, the court concluded. This ruling is likely to clarify for other school administrators nationwide how and when intrusive searches of students might be conducted.

Oh, and guess who thought the school was perfectly within its rights to arbitrarily strip search an honor student based on hearsay evidence?
Justice Clarence Thomas was the only member of the court to decide that the search of Redding was reasonable.
Yeah, not like ol' Clarence there has anything against women. Look, if even Scalia thinks the school was wrong, you're out on the windy, windy limb by your lonesome in legal hell, CT.

Still, I hope this puts an end to zero tolerance in schools. There is a limit, and children in schools are still human beings, not prisoners.

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