Thursday, June 25, 2009

Clarence Thomas would Allow Strip Search of 13 yr Old Girl.

The Supreme Court on 25 June 2009 ruled 8-1 that then 13-year old Savana Redding’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated when her school strip searched her looking for prescription strength drugs they believed she was holding. What struck me as odd in this ruling is that ALL, but one justice found Redding’s rights had been violated EXCEPT Justice Clarence Thomas.
Even today, Thomas’ name conjures cackles from folks who remember the scandal that surrounded his confirmation hearings. Thomas is no youngster and must remember the struggle of Blacks to enjoy the same rights as white Americans, yet he is the judge who repeatedly appears to rule in favor of obliterating an individual’s rights OR ignoring when they’re being violated. As I read the ruling, I was filled with sadness that the only glaring supporter of strip-searching a 13-year old girl after documents showed she waited more than two-hours outside the office of the school’s Vice-Principal’s without so much as a call to her parents was Justice Thomas. Justice Ginsburg wrote, “Abuse of authority of that order should not be shielded by official immunity.” Justice Thomas simply said that the majority’s finding second-guesses the measures that educators take to maintain discipline “and ensure the health and safety of the students in their charge.” When a man of color believes that giving up rights to ensure safety is a plausible course of action something is definitely wrong. I ask myself if it matters whether we’re speaking of a justice on the supreme court or a person flipping burgers at Burger King, "Do minorities feel worthy of having equal rights?" To be clear, there wasn’t any mention of the race of Savana Redding; my concern is from the standpoint of a Supreme Court Justice upholding actions that minimize or obliterate someone’s rights.

Clarence Thomas succeeded Justice Thurgood Marshall – the first ever African American Supreme Court Justice. I do not believe Justice Marshall would approve of Supreme Court decisions issued by Justice Thomas.

The ClassicLiberal had this to say:
The case of Savana Redding, a young girl who was forced to strip for Arizona school officials who were looking for a little ibuprofen in 2003, has finally been ruled on by the Supreme Court.

Only 13-years old, and an honor student in the 8th grade, Savana had been forced to take off her clothing, because the school's vice principle found one over-the-counter naproxen pill, and a few 400-milligram ibuprofen pills (equal to 2 over-the-counter pills each) in the pocket of another student. The school officials didn't even feel the need to bother calling her mother.

Of course, no drugs were found.

Thankfully, the Supreme Court ruled that the school administrators violated Savana Redding's rights. Writing about this story of Big-Brother's Assualt on an Innocent Child last August, I asked the question:

Are these "drug warriors" anything more than child molesters in this case?

Justice David H. Souter seems to agree with me, writing in his opinion (emphasis added):

The meaning of such a search, and the degradation its subject may reasonably feel, place a search that intrusive in a category of its own demanding its own specific suspicions.

Justice Clarence Thomas however, the lone dissenter on the case, wrote:

Judges are not qualified to second-guess the best manner for maintaining quiet and order in the school environment ... 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.

For a Supreme Court Justice that I generally believe gets it right, he's way out of line on this one!

Justice Thomas' opinion here, is radical, bizarre and dangerous. It is the very type of thought that has our country in the situation it is today. If we're going to "share" our parenting responsibilities with the State, allowing them free-range to humiliate our children as they please, make no mistake about it, freedom is unquestionably doomed.

First of all, the judges were not deciding "the best manner for maintaining quiet and order in the school environment." I'm not a judge, nor even a lawyer, and I can figure that out. And let me be straight-up here ... while I do believe that generally parents should take the teacher/administrators side (it's how we learn), but if this had been one of my little nieces or nephews ... there would have been an entirely different case being tried. I would have personally went and kicked the principal's ass!

Oh, cry me a river over your "vigilante justice" mantras as well. The state was the violator in this case, so they certainly weren't about to "serve and protect." These school officials are child molesters in my book. So any amount of trouble for me, would be a small price to pay, for doing what is right by protecting them.

"We the people" either have rights or we don't. There is no middle ground. Justice Thomas seems to feel "we the people" have no rights, outside the arbitrary political-constructs of law. With an economy on the verge of collapse and a government on the verge of default, the people of this country better start taking their natural rights seriously and know who they belong to, if we wish to pass freedom on, to future generations.

In the case of Savana Redding, Justice Souter wrote that what was missing in the case, "was any indication of danger to the students from the power of the drugs or their quantity, and any reason to suppose that Savana was carrying pills in her underwear."

Yet in spite of this fact, that there was no "probable cause," Justice Thomas would prefer to let deviant school administrators keep strip-searching children! Every American should be outraged.


ichbinalj said...

The Lone Stranger strikes again.

ichbinalj said...

DISREGARD FOR PRECEDENT: The other big loser this Supreme Court term was the law itself. The justices expressly or implicitly overruled at least four long-standing precedents, cutting back on the rights of criminal defendants awaiting trial, unionized workers, and older Americans in the process. One of the Court's most egregious cases, Gross v. FBL Financial Services, dramatically cut back on the right of older workers who are victims of employment discrimination to hold their employers accountable for such mistreatment. Moreover, as Justice John Paul Stevens explained in his dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas's 5-4 decision in Gross showed "utter disregard for...precedent and Congress' intent," because it flat-out refused to follow a 1989 decision that interpreted the exact same legal language at issue in Gross and reached the opposite result. For his part, Thomas did not even try to justify his disregard for precedent, stating simply that "it is far from clear that the Court would have the same approach were it to consider the question today in the first instance." Apparently, precedents no longer apply whenever the Court's five conservative members disagree with them.