Just before we got this spiffy new website, I wrote about the horrifying things that transpired when the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Safford Unified School Dist. #1 v. Redding, a case hinging on the question: does a 13-year-old girl have a Constitutional right not to be strip-searched because the assistant principal heard she was passing out Ibuprofen?
As observed by myself and others at the time, those oral arguments were horribly insensitive — so much so, in fact, that Ruth Bader Ginsburg went to the press and pretty much demanded that Obama's first SCOTUS appointment be a woman.
First, though: Just cold interpretin' the Fourth Amendment in his majority opinion (you can read the decision here), David Souter said on behalf of the court that "when the categorically extreme intrusiveness of a search down to the body of an adolescent requires some justification in suspected facts, general background possibilities fall short; a reasonable search that extensive calls for suspicion that it will pay off" — the bar is set higher for violating the privacy of a thirteen-year-old girl's body, in other words, than for violating the privacy of her locker or backpack.
This seems to be what the Founding Fathers intended. (Except Franklin, that perv.)
But, you might ask, who was that one dissenter?
Why, Clarence Thomas, of course. Thomas — who approvingly quotes a previous opinion: “'I would reserve the term "strip search" for a search that required its subject to fully disrobe in view of officials'" (the 13-year-old girl in question, Savana Redding, was required to strip down to her underwear, pull the elastic of her bra and panties away from her skin, and shake them out) — is of the opinion that judges should just step the fuck off and let schools deal with the menace of undisciplined children and their wild drug orgies:
This deep intrusion into the administration of public schools exemplifies why the Court should return to the common-law doctrine of in loco parentis under which “the judiciary was reluctant to interfere in the routine business of school administration, allowing schools and teachers to set and enforce rules and to maintain order.”
Thomas, a hard-core "originalist", finds the majority opinion "an unjustifiable
departure from bedrock Fourth Amendment law... There is no support for this contortion of the Fourth Amendment." Right, judges have no business impeding school officials with their "rulings".
After all, privacy means the same thing to everyone, everywhere, all the time, and for the Supreme Court to actually try to establish standards of reasonableness is a completely uncalled-for act of, in the parlance of the times, "empathy" or possibly "legislating from the bench."
For someone who thinks school officials should have the leeway to make these decisions themselves, Thomas is awfully eager to do a lot more than just justify the search on Fourth Amendment grounds. He also lectures his colleagues on the dangers of illegal drug use (citing Times articles about teenage drug use), and tsk-taks: "Redding would not have been the first person to conceal pills in her undergarments... Nor will she be the last after today’s decision, which announces the safest place to secrete contraband in school." His opinion drips with rage at undisciplined, ungrateful children; he honestly seems to believe, in his heart of hearts, that Savana Redding really did have pills on her. He points out that school officials had previously noticed that she smelled of alcohol during a school dance. That slut.
It is important to remember that, back in the 70s and 80s, before he was arguing that children are so undisciplined that the school has no choice but to strip search them, so judges like him should just step the fuck off, Clarence Thomas was at the Department of Education and the Equal Opportunity Commission, spending his days sexually harassing his female subordinates: relating, in excruciating detail, scenes from Long Dong Silver porno movies; bragging about his endowment; leering at them and repeatedly asking them out; suggesting that they had left their pubic hair on his can of Coke.
In conclusion: Oh, look, fucking Long Dong Silver doesn't think 13-year-old girls have a right to privacy.
Clarence Thomas is a fucking monster.