Thursday, June 25, 2009

SCOTUS had a good case day

That's like a good hair day, but with law, not locks. First, there was the confrontation case, which I wrote about here.

Then, there was the strip search case about the 13 year-old girl who was forced to pull her underwear and bra away from her body to demonstrate to school officials that she did not have contraband medications hidden. (She did not.) 8 of 9 Justices rightly found that search was unreasonable and violated her 4th Amendment right. The hold-out was Justice Thomas; I think it's best not to dwell on his dissent.

After argument, a lot of court observers, myself included, were pretty dismayed at how unconcerned the majority of the justices seemed to be about what was done to the girl. Justice Ginsburg, alone, expressed any real outrage about the excessiveness of the search that was based on nothing but the accusation of a classmate who had been caught red-handed with pills. Justice Ginsburg took the unusual step of discussing that case in an interview afterwards. She cited that oral argument as evidence that the court desperately needed to add another female justice. I'm sure she was pleased to realize she wasn't alone on this case in the end. (But we still need more female justices.)

Today can't make up for some of the bad decisions the Court has issued this term (I'm looking at you, Kansas v. Ventris), but it helps. Good day, SCOTUS.


BellsforStacy said...

The strip search case ... the biggest thing that bothers me is that they thought it was necessary to search her for a drug that she is legally allowed to have, purchase and take without the help of a physician.

I despise these school rules. They had just started implementing them when I was leaving high school (at least in New Mexico) and they were RETARDED. They do nothing to limit drug use in school, which I assume is their intended purpose. And as a child that suffered severe head aches frequently, whether due to allergies or whatever, I always had advil with me.

It's a stupid rule. And I'm glad the court ruled this way. I really don't know what those folks were thinking.

S said...

I know, Stacy. The ibuprofen thing drives me crazy. I'm coming from the perspective of a teenage girl who had awful, terrible cramps. I had to stay home from school on more than one occasion, they were so bad. I could not have gotten through other days without a steady dose of ibuprofen. But at 13, 14, 15, what girl wants to have to make 3 trips a day to the nurse's office? Talk about embarrassing.

It's hard for me to accept the idea that there could be such a huge problem with kids abusing ibuprofen that teenage girls shouldn't be allowed to handle their menstrual cramps privately.

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