Eight to one? Any guesses as to which of the nine supreme court justices think it is OK to get a 13 year old girl to strip down and shake out her underwear so you can see if she has TWO ASPIRIN ON HER???

The Supreme Court said Thursday school officials acted illegally when they strip-searched an Arizona teenage girl looking for prescription-strength ibuprofen.

In an 8-1 ruling, the justices said that school officials violated the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches when they ordered Savana Redding to remove her clothes and shake out her underwear.

Redding was 13 when Safford Middle School officials in rural eastern Arizona conducted the search. They were looking for pills — the equivalent of two Advils. The district bans prescription and over-the-counter drugs and the school was acting on a tip from another student.

The dissenting opinion was, of course, Clarence Thomas.

In a dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas found the search legal and said the court previously had given school officials “considerable leeway” under the Fourth Amendment in school settings.

Officials had searched the girl’s backpack and found nothing, Thomas said. “It was eminently reasonable to conclude the backpack was empty because Redding was secreting the pills in a place she thought no one would look,” Thomas said.

“Redding would not have been the first person to conceal pills in her undergarments,” he said. “Nor will she be the last after today’s decision, which announces the safest place to secrete contraband in school.”

So, now that the supreme court made this decision, we know where to hide our pills… (moron)

Comments

  1. #1 Joshua Zelinsky
    June 25, 2009

    Hey! At least he’s standing up for what he believes in. It isn’t frequent that Thomas is willing to voice an opinion when he doesn’t have Scalia or someone else to back him up.

  2. #2 Equisetum
    June 25, 2009

    I was wrong. I bet on Scalia.

  3. #3 Dan J
    June 25, 2009

    “It was eminently reasonable to conclude the backpack was empty because Redding was secreting the pills in a place she thought no one would look,”

    Just as it’s eminently reasonable to conclude that Justice Thomas is hiding Vicodin under his robe and camisole. What a douchebag.

  4. #4 Colin
    June 25, 2009

    Aspirin != ibuprofen, which was it? 13 years old…hope it wasn’t aspirin (Reye’s syndrome).

    If it was aspirin then maybe the search was out of concern for the child. :)

  5. #5 rpsms
    June 25, 2009

    It certainly wasn’t out of concern for her cramps.

  6. #6 mk
    June 25, 2009

    @Equisetum…

    Only slightly wrong. Scalia Light.

  7. #7 Flaky
    June 25, 2009

    USA doesn’t seize to amaze me. Here in Finland there was a related episode where a daft politician informed the public that she believed that an employer could strip search an employee if suspected of theft or espionage (nothing like this has actually happened). She was quickly slammed down by everyone, because only the police (and certain other authorities) can do a strip search and only in specific circumstances (i.e. there would have to be a good reason to suspect that the individual has actually committed a crime). And anyone performing such an illegal search would be personally held liable, instead of any organization.

  8. #8 CyberLizard
    June 25, 2009

    Clarence Thomas is a fucking pig. That, or he’s just fucking stupid. After his dissent on the Voting Rights Act case and now this one, he disgusts me.

  9. #9 Jason Thibeault
    June 25, 2009

    I say strip search Thomas to make sure he’s not secreting some good drugs somewhere people wouldn’t think to look. I mean, it’s eminently reasonable since he’s not presently holding the good drugs he’s obviously on, in plain view.

  10. #10 Efogoto
    June 25, 2009

    Wonder if Thomas would have supported a cavity search too …

  11. #11 C.T.
    June 25, 2009

    Hou mean they didn’t do a cavity search? Get her back in here!

  12. #12 D. C. Sessions
    June 25, 2009

    Not before the Court: assume that the student had refused to strip.

    * Would school officials have been personally liable for forcibly stripping her?

    * Would the school have been within the law for suspending/expelling her for refusal to comply?

    My read on the current Court is no, yes.

  13. #13 catgirl
    June 25, 2009

    It was eminently reasonable to conclude the backpack was empty because Redding was secreting the pills in a place she thought no one would look

    Well, I bet Thomas’s bag doesn’t have any heroine in it. That must mean he’s hiding it in his undies. Now who gets the job of checking there?

  14. #14 Katkinkate
    June 25, 2009

    I don’t understand the rationale for banning prescription drugs in the schools. What do the diabetic kids do for insulin? Are asthma sufferers expected to do without their puffers until after school?

  15. #15 Stephanie Z
    June 25, 2009

    They’re not banned outright, but there are hoops to jump through for kids to be allowed possession.

  16. #16 Greg Laden
    June 25, 2009

    In many cases, the medicine has to remain in the nurses office. In the case of my daughter’s school (that she just finished with this year) that meant no medicine for the kid unless it was really serious because of the added time of getting to the nurse’s office, waiting in line behind the other kids doing the same thing, relying on the nurse even being there.

    Hell, earlier this year, Julia saved some kids life by intervening when the nurse and school admins were standing around watching the kid suffocate to death. The parents pulled that kid out of that school the next day. I’ve been waiting for them to pay Julia off to keep her mouth shut about how badly that went.

    Crap. I’m staring to sound like a home schooler…

  17. #17 the real meme
    June 25, 2009

    Does anyone think the vote, or the accompanying uproar would be different if a boy was stripped?

  18. #18 Greg Laden
    June 25, 2009

    Real: Good question.

  19. #19 Stephanie Z
    June 25, 2009

    Would be? Yes, both because boys are not seen as being as easily victimized and because the assumption of innocence would be less.

    Should be? No.

  20. #20 Jason Thibeault
    June 25, 2009

    Different as in different people voting different ways for different reasons? Maybe. Different as in different people getting angry for different reasons? Maybe. I doubt there would be quantifiably less outrage though. You are evidence of the flipside of that coin, after all.

  21. #21 the real meme
    June 25, 2009

    Stephanie, What can we do to change that negative and false assumption that boys deserve such violations?

    Jason “I doubt there would be quantifiably less outrage though” I think you are dead wrong. In fact I know you are wrong. It happens everyday, but in the context of the self fulfilling prophecy of purported male behavior: the young male is taught behaviors–or is forced into behavior patterns–and becomes the drug dealer who goes to juvie and gets his ass cheeks spread open by some cop because he ‘could have drugs in his ass’, the young man who is patted down and has his balls frisked because he was caught doing some ‘boy stuff’.

    Definitional biases perpetuated by people like you uphold the right of the law to put their hands on the private parts of males, because apparently the penis et al is a weapon or at the very least a threat to society; but when we do the same to a female, it is considered a sexual violation.

    And what do you mean by this Jason? “You are evidence of the flipside of that coin, after all.”

  22. #22 Stephanie Z
    June 26, 2009

    real, I’m not sure it’s a question of deserving as much as it is thinking boys are less traumatized by the experience, which is not the case.

    As for what to do, I don’t know, but I suspect it starts with making a safe place for male victims of sexual assault and humiliation to speak. There may be fewer of them, but that doesn’t make their stories any less wrenching. And stories have power to make people stop and think, whether they want to or not.

    It’s also got to include teaching girls to listen when boys say, “no,” along with teaching boys that it’s okay to say it.

    There’s got to be some recognition of the fact that the truly power-hungry don’t automatically choose the weakest victim. If they want to prove themselves, they choose the strongest victim they think they can dominate.

    We need to stop criminalizing, literally or figuratively, being young and loud. That will put fewer kids in a position to be abused by authority and particularly fewer boys, who aren’t socialized to be quiet. It will also make fewer kids “outlaw,” which also means outside the protection of law.

    Okay, maybe I had an idea or two.

    And Jason’s just noting that you are expressing outrage.

  23. #23 Ian
    June 26, 2009

    Clarence Thomas is trying to scale a neater hill…?

  24. #24 csrster
    June 26, 2009

    CyberLizard: You should at least consider the possibility that he’s a stupid fucking pig.

  25. #25 Jason Thibeault
    June 26, 2009

    Meme: Stephanie has me right. All I’m saying is that probably the only thing we know for absolutely certain in this hypothetical is that the outrage would come from different places. Though the Venn diagram of people who get pissed off when a young girl has her rights trampled, and the people who get pissed off when a young boy has his rights trampled, there’s likely a huge overlap between the two. The size of the respective circles? I don’t know. Stephanie makes a good argument as to why the boy circle would be smaller, so I’m now inclined to suspect, like you, that that circle would indeed be smaller. I’d like to think I personally fall in the overlap though.

    And I think you’re probably ascribing way more malice to what I say than is actually there. I don’t know why you have such a problem with me, constantly, but please, ease off a bit.

  26. #26 DuWayne
    June 26, 2009

    I have said it before (in the context of this case even) – if it is deemed necessary to strip search a student, schools should bring in the police to conduct the search appropriately. If there isn’t sufficient cause to get a police officer to do the search, it just shouldn’t happen.

    As for boys being strip searched and the considerably less outrage it would likely evoke, I will have a post up in a few hours. May even work out as an all out male positivity post…

  27. #27 the real meme
    June 26, 2009

    Jason and Steph: Jason, If you will recall, I really don’t have a problem with you, I have a problem with some of your perspectives on males, and your sort of kneejerk response to the hyperbole of women being abused and the sort of ‘jump on the bandwagon for bloghits’ on these topics, versus what has been your apparent self shaming, or just unaware perspective on violence directed at males by women and matriarchy building/ matriarchy supporting social theory.

    Steph you make a noteworthy point about making a safe place for males to speak about being sexually abused by women, but I think far more progress could be made in this area if we use the definitions of abuse that we already have. One of the biggest problems that I have seen in this area, and several others have written about it, is that the biggest problem facing young children who are abused by women is that women essentially ‘own’ them or in the very least, have total and ultimate control over their destiny.

    Whereas males have been defined in the literature and pop culture as expendable, and worse, ‘prone to abuse,’ women are still considered by the child as trustworthy, even when they are not.

    So the essential problem here is non-egalitarian definitions of what is and isn’t a sex act, but also who is and isn’t an abuser. We are still operating on a model of Victorian era sexual repression where we pre-suppose that women do not have a ‘sex drive’, or other inate sexual impulses. That model also precludes that womens sexuality is expressed differently, and in other forms, which leaves us with a distorted model that not only perpetuates the myth of the penis as a weapon, but also that men are primary sexual beings.

    In short, womens sexuality and sexual narrative expresses itself differently–we know this now,especially with thanks to the gay community, and other social revolutions, but we still refuse to infer the next natural logical outcome: that womens pedophilia is differently expressed as well. I suggest that this is not a unique idea, but one that we have yet to explore in the rhetoric.

    Now comes confession time, just because my failing is so recent.

    Last night, some loud boys next door to my house were arrested, and frisked by cops because I called them. In the case of loud boys it is important to distinguish between the kindergarten kid and the fifteen year old with a pistol in his pocket.

    I have been babysitting several situations at that house for one year: the boom boom late at night with the beater cars, the young boys in the tribe who are honestly hustling a buck by doing yardwork, the drunken stepdad; but at the center of this universe is mom, dear old painkiller addict mom, who sits up in her house all day and does absolutely fucking nothing about raising her kids.

    I have been watching diversity in action: the HUD house owned by the do-gooder ladndlady who works downtown at the Public Defenders office ( and G-d knows I adore those good hearted sharks, but..), the welfare check-fed kids, the whole she-bang.

    I have fixed their cars, mentored them when I could, and finally had enough when the neighbor next door in the sex offender house brought out the baseball bat because those loud boys sold him bad dope. Instead of calling it in as a “fight” I called it in as a “homicide in progress”, and I got those guys frisked good.

    I won’t even begin to describe the racial factors in play because that is part of the novel, but the Puerto Rican drunken stepdad with the gang of Native Pride/other kids in the house stabed the big black guy after he brought out the bat. The rest of the neighbors were somewhere behind the curtains acting like the people of diversity village often do–they did little or nothing, ever, while I was out on the block calling in the cavalry.

    Sad to watch those boys through that, and even sadder that no one ever stuck up for a-one-of-‘em when mom was dropping them out, or beating them for being “worthless mother fuckers”.

  28. #28 Jason Thibeault
    June 26, 2009

    You… don’t have a problem with me, except for all these problems you have with me? Reading into my motivations for posting with my URL in my name, and telling me what I’m about and what my values are, just mere messages after Greg suggested this mode of argumentation is but a method of taking someone’s voice away?

    Okay, question, Meme. If I were to stop tagging my URL in my name (which would take retraining some muscle memory, since I do it by clicking down-tab-down-tab-down-tab), would that convince you that I wasn’t merely some kind of blog whore, looking for hits? Especially since I only started my blog to keep in touch with my own personal friends, and to have a larger platform to vent on once in a while, and that my stats are about as high as they’ve always been, and that I don’t run ads on that blog?

    I suspect the answer is no, and that you’ve already formed an opinion of me just because of how I suggested you were making baseless assertions back on my blog that first time you came over and called it a shit-heap with bits of corn in it.

  29. #29 Jason Thibeault
    June 26, 2009

    You… don’t have a problem with me, except for all these problems you have with me? Reading into my motivations for posting with my URL in my name, and telling me what I’m about and what my values are, just mere messages after Greg suggested this mode of argumentation is but a method of taking someone’s voice away?

    Okay, question, Meme. If I were to stop tagging my URL in my name (which would take retraining some muscle memory, since I do it by clicking down-tab-down-tab-down-tab), would that convince you that I wasn’t merely some kind of blog whore, looking for hits? Especially since I only started my blog to keep in touch with my own personal friends, and to have a larger platform to vent on once in a while, and that my stats are about as high as they’ve always been (as in, my posting here and elsewhere with my URL is actually not a successful traffic-getting strategy, yet here I am, months and months on), and that I don’t run ads on that blog?

    I suspect the answer is no, and that you’ve already formed an opinion of me during the first time you and DuWayne clashed while I was around; that, or because of how I suggested you were making baseless assertions back on my blog that first time you came over and called it a shit-heap with bits of corn in it.

    I’m sorry. I can’t honestly read the rest of your post, which I’m sure actually does have some good insights I’m missing, because you’ve successfully trolled me to the point of being too emotional and knee-jerk to respond properly. This was my breaking point. So, I’m afraid any criticisms you have of me, whether they’re valid or not, are coming from a source I no longer see as valid. Anyone else here is more than welcome to tell me just about anything you’ve said about me, and I’ll probably take it and internalize it properly and try to self-improve.

  30. #30 Jason Thibeault
    June 26, 2009

    Damn. Sorry for the doublepost, I’d hit post accidentally, and thought I had hit stop immediately. What this tells me about the submission timeout bugs is that the actual timeout happens well after the query is sent to the database, so likely some tracking code scheduled post-submit is what’s failing.

    The funny thing is I originally deleted the link, then decided that would be “giving in to the criticism” and put it back. I guess I just can’t stop my blog-whoring ways, can I?

  31. #31 becca
    June 26, 2009

    It’s a fair question as to whether the reaction would have been different if a boy had been strip searched.
    But it wasn’t a boy who was strip searched. And in this case, it wouldn’t have gone down that way.

    Why might I believe this?
    Because I believe Savana Redding.
    (From her affidavit: “After the incident, Chris Clark told me that when they searched him, they only asked him to empty his pockets, shake out his shirt, and shake his pants up and down. He was not asked to remove any of his clothing”)

    Now, I suspect that the principal and other school officials believed they were acting rationally when they strip searched the girl, but not the boy (the female school nurse and a female teacher were the ones who actually carried out the strip search- it seems plausible somebody managed to justify the strip search to themselves based in part on the same-sex nature of the interaction). I’m sure they never thought to themselves “it’s ok to strip search a girl, because her body [like all female bodies] exists to be exploited”. And yet, their actions are entirely consistent with a patriarchy that treats women as objects.

    This was a disgusting abuse of power, and would have been no matter what the genders involved had been. But the meaning of the event in a particular cultural context, as well as the outcome for the victim, *are* influenced by the genders involved.

  32. #32 Jason Thibeault
    June 26, 2009

    Hell. Thanks for the link, becca — I only had a surface knowledge of the case (from this link and the Slashdot article I’d seen it on as well) — hadn’t read any of the affidavit, that revelation makes it triply disgusting.

  33. #33 DuWayne
    June 27, 2009

    I put up my initial post…More when I don’t have three tests to study for, coming tomorrow, Monday and Tuesday…

    I am hoping in the mean time, that I can get a feel for the objective and honest feelings of others. I really want to know how people would have felt, had this happened to a boy instead of a girl.

    And yes Becca, I find it repulsive and understand that it didn’t. But I think that it is a very good question to ask. As much as I dislike Real, I am quite glad that he asked the question – I will take it further than this specific issue, but I really do want to know how people would answer his question…

  34. #34 the real meme
    June 30, 2009

    becca: “I’m sure they never thought to themselves “it’s ok to strip search a girl, because her body [like all female bodies] exists to be exploited”
    Really? Is that somehow different than how women treat each other when no men are present? How convenient that you forget to mention the eternal, maternal invasiveness of/to young girls bodies–those bodies which women in matriarchal societies also exploit ( see the “Coochie Snorcher” reference in the Vagina Monologues for a reference point)?

    Somehow in this dialogue, when a girl is violated, not only do we instantly smother the debate with accusations against patriarchy, but we also deny the unaccountable voyeuristic and entitled perspective of the matriarchy. That matriarchy believes that children are their property.

    Jason: I was here with you months ago–when I first saw your perspective on those issues–but your blog whoring keeps getting in the way.”I’m sorry. I can’t honestly read the rest of your post.”

    We are only having this any conversation at all here because I noted earlier that you are one of those circular thinkers like a dog that chases its own tail. Everything comes back to Jason, furtively latching on to his tail, and when that doesn’t succeed, you run back to your blog and lick your nuts.

    Most importantly, I said anything Ineed to say to you in my first post that referenced you, and in a nutshell, it is cuckolded guys like you who give guys like the rest of us a bad rap.

    DuWayne: I was just about to mosey on down to your blog when I hit this sour note: “As much as I dislike Real,” and so I will do you a favor and let you ponder the question alone, as most men like yourself–a guy to whom similar things have very likely happened–do as they stumble through your feelings or pondering of violations against young males without my input.

    But in a footnote to my own recent cause-effect relationship with young gang bangers across the street from my house, I will note that one guy is up on attempted murder charges ( the black guy with the bat) the Peurto Rican Vice Lord/drunk stepdad is out on bond, and the ‘kids’ have moved out of the house they were squatting, and none of them went to jail.

    The mother/s to this brood–the real criminals here–are all still free, collecting state aid, and passing their wisdom of how to milk the state on to their daughters.

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