Supreme Court: It’s Not Okay to Strip-Search Students for Ibuprofen
If the recent Supreme Court decisions denying prisoners the right to DNA evidence or allowing companies to dump toxic mining waste in public lakes were getting you down, you can take heart in today’s decision, perhaps the last to be written by retiring Justice David Souter. The high court today ruled that it’s not okay to strip-search a 13-year-old school girl to look for ibuprofen in her underwear.
Though Justice Clarence Thomas didn’t agree (he doesn’t think the court should “second-guess” school officials when it comes to discipline), the eight justices in the majority ruled that given that there was no apparent danger to other students, strip-searching Savana Redding, now a 19-year-old college student, was an unconstitutional overreaction.
The decision, Safford United School District v. Redding (08-479), is available here.
The court didn’t rule out strip-searches at schools completely, however; seven justices ruled that today’s decision applied only to future strip-searches, so neither Redding nor anyone else who’s ever been unconstitutionally humiliated in this manner has any remedy.