Thursday, June 25, 2009

Supreme Court Repudiates Strip Search of 13-Year-Old, Denies Redress

"Will you strip for me?"

In Safford Unified School District No. 1 v. Redding, the U.S. Supreme Court today held, in an opinion by the imminently retiring Justice David Souter, that school officials violated the Fourth Amendment's ban on unreasonable searches and seizures by strip searching 13 year old Savanna Redding to look for common pain relievers. Once again proving his willingness to endorse outrageous legal conclusions, Clarence Thomas was the only Justice to dissent from this holding. Regrettably, the majority further concluded that the law was not sufficiently clear to justify allowing Savanna to seek money damages from the school officials. Cheers to Justice Stevens and Justice Ginsburg for appreciating the evidentness of the conclusion that “a nude search of a 13-year-old child is an invasion of constitutional rights of some magnitude.” The Supreme Court remanded the case for the lower courts to consider whether Redding could seek damages from the school district itself, but recovering from a local governmental unit like the school district is something the Court's precedents have made increasingly difficult.

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