Skip to main content

This piece was provoked by the Supreme Court's appalling behavior during oral argument in Safford v. Redding. It was also inspired by Dahlia Lithwick's wonderful piece in Slate entitled "Search Me." Safford involves the strip-search of a 13-year-old girl during her school day, a search authorized by officials at Safford Middle School in Safford, Arizona. The search was based on the unsubstantiated claim by another student that Ms. Redding possessed extra-strengh Tylenol. Ms. Redding was, of course, sitting in the audience of the burgundy-draped, gold-trimmed courtroom, so she was humiliated all over again, this time by the august body we now ironically call the Supreme Court. Too bad one of these clowns isn't retiring instead of Souter.

    We, representatives of  FOCUS ("Freaked Out Citizens of the United States") (hereinafter "Petitioners") hereby petition this Body for strip searches of the following members of the United States Supreme Court: Justice Antonin Scalia; Justice Stephen Breyer; Justice Clarence Thomas; Justice Samuel Alito: and Chief Justice John Roberts. This request is based on the Court’s recent behavior during oral argument in Safford Unified School District v. Redding.  It is also supported by the Court’s recent history of bizarre and specious rulings that belie some underlying cause that may be found in the Justices’ undergarments.

    Petitioners do not make this request lightly. We are aware that the Court’s own precedent (New Jersey v. T.L.O.) requires "reasonable grounds" for such a search, and that the search "cannot be excessively intrusive in light of the age and sex of the [self-important asshole]." However, we must stress that this issue regards SAFETY, an issue that takes precedence over all issues of privacy and dignity in today’s America. If even one person may be harmed in even the most unlikely and paranoid scenario, then the people "in charge" MUST be allowed to act with all due speed and without consideration (footnote 1).

    While Ms. Redding had no record of misbehavior, the same cannot be said for members of the Court.  In Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000), the Court essentially chose the POTUS on the basis of an utterly specious Equal Protection argument, which even the most conservative legal scholars have dismissed as baffling. We need not revisit the nightmarish physical and psychological harm that ensued from this ruling. We admit that professionals in the field of comedy reaped some reward, but that benefit does not outweigh the harm to the rest of the world.  In Ledbetter v.Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, 550 U.S. 98 (2000), the majority opinion, written by Samuel Alito, held that Ms. Ledbetter "could have, and should have, sued" for discriminatory pay decisions within Title VII’s 180-day "charging period," despite the fact that the Plantiff did not know of those decisions, and also despite the fact, noted by dissenter Ginburg, that the discriminatory acts continued well into the 180-day period. Another stumper.

    Perhaps the Court’s behavior in the Redding oral argument hints at an explanation. The argument reads like a bad Judd Apatow script. What besides extensive drug use would explain Justice Breyer’s rantings: "In my experience when I was 8 or 10 or 12 years old, you know, we did take our clothes off once a day, we changed for gym, OK? And in my experience, too, people did sometimes stick things in my underwear."

    This bizarre statement was met with explosive laughter ESPECIALLY ON THE PART OF CLARENCE THOMAS. I repeat, Justice Thomas, evidently, could not stop laughing. Breyer, embarrassed, continued: "Or not my underwear. Whatever. Whatever. I was the one who did it? I don't know. I mean, I don't think it's beyond human experience."

    Then there is Justice Roberts’ response to ACLU lawyer Wolf’s observation that hiding drugs in underpants has a certain "ick" factor: "Maybe I'm -- maybe I'm not articulating this. You keep focusing on the fact that it's unlikely that the pills would be concealed in her underpants. That doesn't go to the brassiere at all, which doesn’t seem as outlandish as the underpants, right?" Need we remind this Body that this statement was made in a public forum?

    Justice Alito also takes a walk on the wild side when he says of the young woman whose uncorroborated statement led to the search that perhaps "the school could keep records on its students, like the police keep records on confidential informants, so unless this student had a proven record of having accurately ratted out a certain number of classmates in the past, she couldn't be believed."  Perhaps Mr. Alito slipped into a drug-induced delusion and thought he was ruling on an episode of "24."

    Perhaps most damning, however, is Justice Scalia’s behavior. Scalia asked Matthew Wright, the school district’s lawyer, why black magic markers are considered contraband. Wright replied, "Well, for sniffing!" "They sniff  them? Really?" responded Scalia, in evident delight. We can only surmise that black - indeed, any color - magic markers will be the vehicle for Justice Scalia’s next foray into altered consciousness.  For those of you who still doubt that Scalia has engaged in such forays, consider his chortling statement, "You’ve searched everywhere else. By God, the drugs must be in her underpants." The record speaks for itself.

    The magic marker issue brings us to a further request. Given the size and shape of such markers, we ask that this Body authorize body cavity searches. We realize that this type of search is quite intrusive, but what the hell? Guys get undressed in locker rooms all the time don’t they? Also, an uncorroborated source has informed us that Justices Scalia and Thomas keep their heads up their asses most of the time anyway, so this should be not be unduly burdensome to them.

    We ask for all due speed in this decision, as the Court is slated to issue a ruling in the Redding case in July. Also, for the sake of balance and equity, we suggest that Ms. Redding work with Justice Ginsberg to define the manner and scope of the search.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

  1. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg describes such scenarios in her dissent in PGA TOUR, INC. v. Martin, 532 U.S. 661, 687 (2001): "Notwithstanding nightmarish images of out-of-control flatware, livestock run amok, and colliding tubas disturbing the peace and quiet of Tecumseh, the great majority of students the School District seeks to test in truth are engaged in activities that are not safety sensitive to an unusual degree. There is a difference between imperfect tailoring and no tailoring at all."

Originally posted to Shereee on Sat May 02, 2009 at 05:33 PM PDT.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  the late (6+ / 0-)

    racist perjurer William Rehnquist was fucked up on pills for years. Even casual scrutiny of Scalia's opinions makes clear that he's addicted to jimson weed. Maybe he's started to share with others on the bench.

    Nice diary.

  •  Editorial note.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grada3784

    Trying to use irony to report on what appears to be an attempt at irony by the judges quotes is difficult for this reader to understand.

    Unfortunately, the Supreme Court does not allow video, and I'm not sure whether a full transcript has been released.  If it has, you should have linked it.

    And if you message is this is a serious issue, not suitable for satire, I agree.  And your diary would have been more effective if it's tone reflected that same message.

  •  I am not sure why (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grada3784, blueness, Shereee

    this area of injustice (violations of privacy, unreasonable searches, authoritarianism in general, and loss of individual rights) has become a sort of taboo issue in the progressive community (witness the number of responses to the diary). Evidently, this part of the "progressive" blogosphere has decided that it is not a very important issue. If it isn't, then I can't figure out what is, but then I thought there was something wrong with conservatives and Republicans before it became cool to question them. I've always been weird.

    I guess this sudden indifference to individual rights and police power issues might have something to do with the fact that Obama turned out to not be willing or able to work for any changes in the steady progression of abuse of state police power against individuals. Progressives have thus moved on to more "important" progressive causes, evidently so as not to break solidarity with the new leader.

    Does anybody know where those concerned with individual rights, the drug war madness, and all the other issues that form the most important framework of progressive or liberal reasoning have gone? Is there a new blog somewhere where the critics of conservatism are chatting, or did they round them all up? Its hard to believe that many people disappeared overnight.

    Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't.
    Mark Twain

    by phaktor on Sat May 02, 2009 at 06:27:46 PM PDT

  •  The SCOTUS is disgusting for treating this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Navy Vet Terp, Shereee

    "case" as any sort of case at all. It's a clear violation of the 4th amendment...or would have been, had that amendment still been in force.

    When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

    by Rayk on Sat May 02, 2009 at 07:42:01 PM PDT

  •  Put Savana Redding on the Court. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shereee

    Her 6 year pursuit of this case documents a greater commitment to the 4th Amendment than shown by any of the incumbents, she's surely learned a good bit of law in the process, and at 19 she should easily survive Roberts and Alito.

    the Constitution makes no mention of an age requirement, nor a law degree.



    Jane Harman's "I could have gone to jail if I talked about it" finally makes sense.

    by ben masel on Sun May 03, 2009 at 01:50:46 AM PDT

  •  Poor Breyer (0+ / 0-)

    Breyer seems to be confused about exactly what is actually in his underwear, and how it got there.  That's just sad.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site