Tuesday, April 21, 2009

SCOTUS likely to say, apparently, that a school fucking STRIP SEARCHING a 13 year old girl based on hearsay is A-OK


Read this article on Slate by Dahlia Lithwick, in what I can only hope is her most far wrong call of all time. (Well, ok, this is less horrible than, say, Supreme Court (SCOTUS) allowing torture and indefinite detention and the suspension of habeas rights, but it is also less understandable from even a utilitarian perspective.)

Choice excerpts from Dahlia's well-written piece:
When constitutional historians sit down someday to compile the definitive Supreme Court Concordance of Not Getting It, the entry directly next to Lilly Ledbetter ("Court fails utterly to understand realities of gender pay discrimination") will be Savana Redding ("Court compares strip searches of 13-year-old girls to American Pie-style locker-room hijinks"). After today's argument, it's plain the court will overturn a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion finding a school's decision to strip-search a 13-year-old girl unconstitutional. That the school in question was looking for a prescription pill with the mind-altering force of a pair of Advil—and couldn't be bothered to call the child's mother first—hardly matters.
Editorialists and pundits have found much to hate in what happened to Savana Redding... you might see the humiliation in pulling a middle-school honor student with no history of disciplinary problems out of class, based on an uncorroborated tip that she was handing out prescription ibuprofen. You might think it traumatic that she was forced to strip down to her underclothes and pull her bra and underwear out and shake them in front of two female school employees. No drugs were found. [SCOTUS Justices] had access to an amicus brief in this case documenting the fact that student strip searches "can result in serious emotional damage" and that student victims of strip searches "often cannot concentrate in school, and, in many cases, transfer or even drop out." Savana Redding, herself a data point, described the search as "the most humiliating experience" of her life. Then she dropped out of school. And five years later, at age 19, she gets to listen in on oral argument in Porky's 3: The Supreme Court Says "Panties."

Apart from the hyperbole at the end, Lithwick's analysis seems pretty solid, and the rest of her article backs up first impressions. I haven't read more on the case myself, so I reserve my own final judgment, but it certainly appears to be another "WTF?" moment, along with such highlights as Lilly Ledbetter, The Torture Years, and the "An American Woman's Uterus is Effectively US Soil" ruling (where most of the men of the court, "respecting the differences between men and women" -- and ignoring the women on the court at the time -- upheld as Constitutional a law making it easier for the child of an American mother and foreign father than an American father and foreign mother to be granted US citizenship, which I have fondly called the "Uterus as a US Embassy Theory of Citizenship").

Fuckety FUCK FUCKING FUCK, court!!!! I, I... all I can do right now is splutter. And get back to work -- got packing for a trip that I've been incredibly procrastinating on to do yet.

1 comment:

penn said...

utter crap. I was pissed just hearing the commentary from NPR (which didn't include these details about age and the "drugs" in question). I'm now supremely (excuse the pun) angry at this decision.


I think we've gotten away from an understanding of freedoms in this country.