Scalia: Class Act

I would not be alone in a room with this man for all the beer in Green Bay:

David O’Neil, an assistant to the solicitor general representing the federal government, tried to steer a middle course.

Fourth Amendment had been violated, he said, because school officials
did not have a reasonable suspicion that Ms. Redding had secreted drugs
in her undergarments. But Mr. O’Neil added that Ms. Redding should not
be allowed to sue the assistant principal who ordered the search,
because the law was unclear at the time.

JusticeAntonin Scalia challenged him on the first point.

search in the student’s pack, you search the student’s outer garments,
and you have a reasonable suspicion that the student has drugs,” he
said. “Don’t you have, after conducting all these other searches, a
reasonable suspicion that she has drugs in her underpants?”

“You’ve searched everywhere else,” Justice Scalia said. “By God, the drugs must be in her underpants.”

He has thought WAY too much about this.


17 thoughts on “Scalia: Class Act

  1. Looking forward to another first class Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissent in a cased decided by a majority of creepy assholes. Here’s Souter, supposedly one of the nominally sane justices:“I would rather have the kid embarrassed by a strip search, if we can’t find anything short of that, than to have some other kids dead because the stuff is distributed at lunchtime and things go awry” — things are going awry alright and it’s not in some middle school cafeteria, it’s on the bench of the Supreme Court. I’d rather not have the state strip searching minors on the the say so of other minors over a phantom fucking aspirin.

  2. There are just so many ways you could go with that statement…all of them unbelievably icky in the context of Scalia.
    But let me forge ahead anyway and say that as an agnostic, I believe that if there is a God, he/she/it has absolutely nothing to do with the drugs in my underpants. Said drugs are entirely the product of evolution, damn it, sublimely intoxicating though they may be.

  3. And if they’re not in her underpants, clearly you have to do a cavity search, and if they’re not there, roll out the operating theater because she must have swallowed them or have some kind of bionic pouch…
    But I think Souter is right. Clearly we should strip-search all students when they arrive at school in the morning, and when they leave in the afternoon, just to be sure.

  4. I can’t be the only person who thinks that schools shouldn’t be strip searching students in any case, right? Talk about an abuse of power and authority, not to mention the fact that it leave school administrators open to accusations of sexual abuse.

  5. wolfetone, no, I’m right there with you. I also think it’s nuts that perfectly legal, over-the-counter medication any student can purchase at the pharmacy can’t be taken to school and kept in lockers. You can overdose on mouthwash, I mean, you can do all manner of stupid shit with way less than an aspirin. There is no school rule that will prevent people from being dumbshits.

  6. Between this and the story a few weeks back about Clarence Thomas and the magic dishwasher, I’m thinking we should shut down the Supremes for a summer vacation and send them all (Ginsburg gets a rain check) to some extreme Outward Bound for Seniors. Ropes course, rock climbing, white water rafting, survival training.

  7. Okay, shifting to serious mode now. The thing that worries me most about this is that there seem to be no standards of evidence involved. In reading the basics of the case, it really looks to me as though the girl were being searched for drugs based entirely on hearsay and guilt by association. Even if you agree that strip-searching might be warranted to protect the greater good of all students (as Souter seems to be saying here), the Fourth Amendment established some basic parameters that should apply to everyone (else we risk violating equal protection). Those parameters have already been well-established by precedent.
    So why the hell aren’t those parameters being applied here?
    It boils down to this for me: sometimes the needs of the many are fulfilled best by protecting the needs of the few. The actual harm caused by allowing strip searches like this far outweighs the imagined harm of allowing over-the-counter drugs to be in the hands of minors.

  8. So I went and looked it up. Evidently the school’s tinplated dictators had sense enough to ensure female personnel were alone with the child for the strip search.

    Adam B. Wolf, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, disagreed, invoking what he called the “ick factor.”
    His client, Savana Redding, had been subjected to a strip search in 2003 by school officials in Safford, Ariz. She was 13 and in eighth grade at the time.
    The officials were acting on a tip from another student and were looking for prescription-strength ibuprofen, a painkiller. They made Ms. Redding strip to her underwear, shake her bra and pull aside her panties. The officials, both female, found no pills.
    “What this school official did,” Mr. Wolf said, referring to the male assistant principal who ordered the search, “was act on nothing more than a hunch — if that — that Savana was currently concealing ibuprofen pills underneath her underpants for others’ oral consumption.”
    “I mean, there’s a certain ick factor to this,” Mr. Wolf said.

    Ya THINK??

    Come on, Mr. Justice Scalia. Which of your four daughters did your wife discover hiding painkillers in her underclothes?

    On September 10, 1960, Scalia married Maureen McCarthy, an English major at Radcliffe College. Together they have nine children – Ann Forrest (born September 2,1961), Eugene (labor attorney, former Solicitor of the Department of Labor), John Francis, Catherine Elisabeth, Mary Clare, Paul David (now a priest in the Catholic Diocese of Arlington at St. John’s Church in McLean), Matthew (a West Point graduate and U.S. Army Major currently serving as an ROTC instructor at the University of Delaware), Christopher James (currently an English professor at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise), and Margaret Jane (studying at the University of Virginia). (Stolen from Wikipedia)

    He’s got nine kids, all younger than me. Four daughters. IIRC he’s a Catholic. Tell me he wouldn’t be down at the school (unless he sent his kids to school with nuns) screaming bloody murder if some uptight bunghole of an administrator had demanded that one of his precious darlings be strip-searched??

  9. The Other Sarah – well, y’know, since Scalia’s from the well-heeled set…his kids’ school would only have been looking to search for and ban OTC meds because they are too ‘pedestrian’ for their social set… If it isn’t mommy’s valium/percoset/lithium/etc., it’s not allowed…that’s what (holds nose) Public School children do.

  10. And in fact there was no “evidence” (in quotes because as far as I’m concerned, the self-serving statement from the kid who got caught with the ibuprofen in her possession, unsupported by anything else, doesn’t constitute evidence sufficient for a search itself) that could have even SUGGESTED that this girl would have put the supposed contraband inside her clothing, so the search is, in my opinion, even less reasonable than it would appear.
    Not only that, but to imagine that a 13 year old girl would consider using any drugs that had been inside her (or another girl’s) underwear (talk about your ick factor!) shows such a blinding ignorance about human nature, and the nature of 13 year old girls, that it defies belief.
    Oh, and Scalia is completely fucked up to even make that argument, but that goes without saying.

  11. But what if it had been SNAKES? Motha-f**king SNAKES in her motha’f**king UNDERWEAR!
    Or aliens!?1?1/!
    By God, the aliens must be in her underpants! You’ve searched everywhere else!
    Seriously, to say that there is a certain ick factor to this is a huge understatement.

  12. I don’t know the particular case, but if they’ve searched the personal effects (admittely, they should have to have at least some reasonable suspicion for that), and you still didn’t find drugs, wouldn’t it be possible that there aren’t any?
    And for searching garments, it seems like that would go beyond the normal duties of a principal. I’d expect that they should call the district director for guidance (as well as a good lawyer – these days an innocent hug can get a teacher in trouble.). I wouldn’t touch that with a ten foot pole without making sure that all the legal folk were on board.
    And to descend to the creepy, can we send a letter to the principal and the school board offering to strip search their students?
    I’m hoping the above line gets a strong reaction as a reaction clearly would show that any sane person would be very leery about entering into that situation.

  13. To be serious for a moment, as hard as that is for me, I can’t conceive of a situation where school officials could legally strip a student for any purpose, short of an effort to save the life of that student – clothes on fire? It is blatantly obvious that this is sexual abuse of this student – it would be seen as such, the culprit would be arrested for it, and would be convicted for it, required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his/her life, and would serve a long prison term for it, if it were any other person besides a medical doctor, with a female nurse present, or a school principal(??) That this case was even accepted by the US Supreme Court tells you all that you need to know about that courts utter lack of qualification for their jobs. This is a clear case for impeachment of that court, in total.

  14. Wow, what incredibly “sharp” legal “reasoning” from Scalia.
    Hey, Saddam’s missing WMDs must be hidden in Scalia’s internal organs. After all, we lookedeverywhere else, and it would be irresponsible to call off the search now.

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