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.