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Privacy trumps idiocy...finally
June 25, 2009 1:08 PM   Subscribe

In an 8-1 ruling, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that school officials violated an Arizona teenager's rights by strip-searching her for prescription-strength ibuprofen, declaring that U.S. educators cannot force children to remove their clothing unless student safety is at risk. Clarence Thomas demurred, suggesting that panties would become the new drug underground.
posted by dejah420 (62 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thomas is one freaky bitch. Even Scalia sided with the teen.
posted by photoslob at 1:10 PM on June 25, 2009


psst - Metatalk.
posted by gingerbeer at 1:11 PM on June 25, 2009


When your views are too authoritarian for even Antonin Scalia to stomach, you know that you're one world-class asshole.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:11 PM on June 25, 2009 [24 favorites]


Why is the word "panties" totally dirty, while "underwear" is perfectly respectable?
posted by Go Banana at 1:13 PM on June 25, 2009


Well, hasn't Thomas been pro-removal-of-panties since even before he was confirmed?
posted by COBRA! at 1:14 PM on June 25, 2009 [9 favorites]


Metafilter: panties would become the new drug underground.
posted by jonp72 at 1:14 PM on June 25, 2009


Simple solution to this problem: if someone demands to search your underpants, soil them first.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:19 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


It makes sense that a world-class asshole would be in favor of body cavity searches.
posted by benzenedream at 1:20 PM on June 25, 2009


Panties is the dirtiest word in the English language.
posted by Mister_A at 1:20 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Supreme Court rules privates private
posted by Sys Rq at 1:22 PM on June 25, 2009 [6 favorites]


Panties would become the new drug underground.

Makes sense. Let's face it, bras have become a hotbed of counterfeiting.
posted by JaredSeth at 1:22 PM on June 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


Well, you have to draw the line *somewhere*, and this is just fine. If we went beyond this then the line would be *inside* people - in their rectums and vaginas, and that's just not a very comfortable place to draw that line. Someone should bend Thomas over and give him a good invasive ass-reaming; then he'd see why the rest of the court drew that line where they did.
posted by jamstigator at 1:24 PM on June 25, 2009


I love that we need the Supreme Court for this. And that the district decided to take it all the way to the top. I think everyone knows Thomas just does it for the lulz now.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 1:26 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


Well, hasn't Thomas been pro-removal-of-panties since even before he was confirmed?

Let's be clear about something here. I'm as pro-removal-of-panties as any post-feminist red-blooded male has a right to. I don't think that's the problem.

I'm anti-forced-removal-of-minors-panties-on-a-whim however, and that is a distinction that needs to be made. That Thomas character is dirty.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:28 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


When I heard the ruling was 8 to 1 I knew Thomas was the dissenting opinion. Note too he had the lone dissenting opinion earlier in the week over the Voting Rights Act, which he felt should be abolished.
posted by Rashomon at 1:29 PM on June 25, 2009


WTH? School officials being allowed to strip kids at ALL, especially without their parents present?
posted by small_ruminant at 1:30 PM on June 25, 2009


Supreme Court rules privates private

And if she was in the military...

Supreme Court rules private's privates private.
posted by splice at 1:32 PM on June 25, 2009


I was required to strip totally naked at school in gym class three times a week in Ohio when I was a kid. They made damn sure the shower water was the right temperature and the smirking gym teacher had a wooden paddle that I saw USED on a kid's naked wet ass for the minor infraction of bouncing a ball off an overhead light. This went on for years.
posted by longsleeves at 1:35 PM on June 25, 2009


Goddammit, I came here for the coke can joke, and I will not go away disappointed!
posted by mark242 at 1:36 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Panties is the dirtiest word in the English language.

I dunno. "Moist" at least gives it a run for its money.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:38 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pantie raid!
posted by Sailormom at 1:39 PM on June 25, 2009


I am surprised at Roberts and Scalia, I expected them to support the school. This must really have been egregious.
posted by RussHy at 1:40 PM on June 25, 2009


Well, where's he going to get all those pubes to put on people's Cokes?
posted by billysumday at 1:41 PM on June 25, 2009


Why is the word "panties" totally dirty, while "underwear" is perfectly respectable?

I don't think that "panties" is at the totally dirtiest end of the scale. That position would be reserved for "manties" (which are both dirty and moist, for the final effect of being grotty).
posted by FatherDagon at 1:42 PM on June 25, 2009


LEGALIZE ADVIL!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:53 PM on June 25, 2009


Judge Weaver: Mr. Biegler, you finally got your rape into the case, and I think all the details should now be made clear to the jury. What exactly was the undergarment just referred to?
Paul Biegler: Panties, Your Honor.
Judge Weaver: Do you expect this subject to come up again?
Paul Biegler: Yes, Sir.
Judge Weaver: There's a certain light connotation attached to the word "panties." Can we find another name for them?
Mitch Lodwick: I never heard my wife call 'em anything else.
Judge Weaver: Mr. Biegler?
Paul Biegler: I'm a bachelor, Your Honor.
Judge Weaver: That's a great help. Mr. Dancer?
Claude Dancer: When I was overseas during the war, Your Honor, I learned a French word. I'm afraid that might be slightly suggestive.
Judge Weaver: Most French words are.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:55 PM on June 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


"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."

Clearly you have all missed the larger story, in that a human has finally evolved the ability to secrete contraband into his undergarments.
posted by resurrexit at 1:56 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


...panties would become the new drug underground

Mind the gap.
posted by blueberry at 2:03 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Voting Rights Act, which he felt should be abolished.

Got to love backing legislature long enough for it to help you and then closing the gate for future generations.

In "Creating Black Americans" there's almost a whole chapter dedicated to this phenomena and it's prominance durring republican adminstrations since Regan.

It's kind of a dry read though.
posted by djduckie at 2:05 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Let's be fair here. Think what you will of Justice Thomas's opinion; at least he cited precedent.
posted by barrett caulk at 2:05 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: pro-removal-of-panties
posted by vibrotronica at 2:07 PM on June 25, 2009


Well, it would be interesting to know if they would have thought the search was justified if they'd been looking for !!!!!OMG Marijuana!!!! and not advil. The relative danger issue is interesting. But I'm glad they didn't OK it because continuing at that level of drug war insanity is simply depressing.
posted by Maias at 2:12 PM on June 25, 2009


Think what you will of Justice Thomas's opinion; at least he cited precedent.

I thought you were citing Baker v. Farmer.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:49 PM on June 25, 2009


hey! hey you, Clarence Thomas! yeah you! The supreme court justice!







FUCK YOU!
posted by shmegegge at 2:50 PM on June 25, 2009


Nullem crimen sin poena. The opinion is meaningless because it simultaneously holds that the search was unconstitutional, but that the people who actually ordered and carried out the search cannot be held liable. Bullfeathers.
posted by 1adam12 at 2:52 PM on June 25, 2009


I am surprised at Roberts and Scalia, I expected them to support the school. This must really have been egregious.

Strip searching a 13 year old girl with no record of disciplinary trouble because another girl said she gave her an Advil? Yeah, egregious is a pretty good word.
posted by msalt at 2:56 PM on June 25, 2009


The opinion is meaningless because it simultaneously holds that the search was unconstitutional, but that the people who actually ordered and carried out the search cannot be held liable.

Not exactly. As I understand it, they ruled that the people couldn't be sued personally because the legal standard was not clear at the time they did the search. But now that the Supreme Court has ruled, future school officials will be liable.

So it will help all kids going forward, and even this girl can still sue the school, just not the principal personally.
posted by msalt at 3:00 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Clarence Thomas demurred, suggesting that panties would become the new drug underground.

*INSERT "PUBIC HAIR + COKE" JOKE HERE*
posted by ZenMasterThis at 3:06 PM on June 25, 2009


From the last link:

Thomas warned that the majority's decision could backfire. "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."

That sounds like a serious medical problem.

Yes, I know he was using the other definition.
posted by Saxon Kane at 3:52 PM on June 25, 2009



Strip searching a 13 year old girl with no record of disciplinary trouble because another girl said she gave her an Advil? Yeah, egregious is a pretty good word.


I still cannot wrap my mind around the fact that someone thought it was prudent, proportional and sane to strip search a child, with all the attendant mortification and trauma, because she might have had, in her possession, a perfectly legal and commonly used over the counter pain reliever. That she could, you know, buy in a store, without anyone batting an eye. I mean, there's school policy, and then there's whatever kind of insanity this is.

I mean, if I were in that courtroom, I would be hauled away for contempt, because I wouldn't be able to stop saying, "OK, but really. What the fuck is wrong with you? More to the point, how does one become such an epic, legendary asshole?"
posted by louche mustachio at 3:54 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well, hasn't Thomas been pro-removal-of-panties since even before he was confirmed?

Flagged for "needs rimshot"
posted by davejay at 4:14 PM on June 25, 2009


I still cannot wrap my mind around the fact that someone thought it was prudent, proportional and sane to strip search a child, with all the attendant mortification and trauma...

Some people think children aren't capable of being traumatized by such things. Still others don't care. Still others seek to cause such trauma.
posted by davejay at 4:16 PM on June 25, 2009


", because she might have had, in her possession, a perfectly legal and commonly used over the counter pain reliever"

fwiw, it was suggested the ibprofen was prescription strength, not OTC
posted by nadawi at 4:40 PM on June 25, 2009


Thomas has long expressed the view (in so many words) that children, in school, don't have much in the way of rights. He's wrong, and I find his position all the more incomprehensible because of some of his opinions dealing with the rights of adults, but his opinion is entirely predictable.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 4:53 PM on June 25, 2009


I mean, if I were in that courtroom, I would be hauled away for contempt, because I wouldn't be able to stop saying, "OK, but really. What the fuck is wrong with you? More to the point, how does one become such an epic, legendary asshole?"
posted by louche mustachio at 3:54 PM on June 25


He's a perv and kind of retarded. I mean dios can claim Scalia's a legal lion or whatever, and it's cute, and funny, and there could be people who think that because Scalia is mildly clever as a writer. But no one out there honestly thinks Thomas is any sort of brilliant jurist. No one. He hates affirmative action, and yet, has been its luckiest and most shameful recipient: appointed only because he is kooky-right-wing and black, Bush I's Twofer.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 4:56 PM on June 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


fwiw, it was suggested the ibprofen was prescription strength, not OTC

In previous coverage, I've read that one "prescription strength" ibuprofen is equivalent to two OTC ibuprofen. So, not really that powerful.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 5:16 PM on June 25, 2009


What the fuck is wrong with Thomas?
posted by zzazazz at 5:30 PM on June 25, 2009


Ya know, I had initially started a huge screed here, I'm going to sum it up in that Clarence Thomas is just a a giant bucket of fail. If you read what he says in this article, he seems totally ok with every action that was taken. This leaves me to wonder would a cavity search been even beyond the pale for him?

"Justice Thomas also said Thursday’s decision provided the nation’s students a court-sanctioned hiding place." (that is to say their underwear).

What are his deeper opinions here? If schools have leeway to do this, why not parents, guardians, nannies, mall security guards? Why should a *government* institution get a free pass for child abuse.

ugh I am beyond disgusted.
posted by MrLint at 5:37 PM on June 25, 2009


If schools have leeway to do this, why not parents, guardians, nannies, mall security guards?

I would think parents would have leeway to do this already. Huge difference between parents and the other entities you listed (and school officials). I certainly can't think of any law/reason why parents couldn't strip-search their child.
posted by wildcrdj at 6:01 PM on June 25, 2009


Er... to be clear I'm not suggesting all parents should suddenly start strip-searching their children. But I'm pretty sure it's legal, and in general the state tries to interfere with parents as little as possible. Parents are allowed to ground (detain) children, limit their choices, etc to a degree that non-parental entities are not outside of court-imposed penalties.
posted by wildcrdj at 6:03 PM on June 25, 2009


What the fuck is wrong with Thomas?

As Optimus Chyme points out above, the cognitive dissonance of being against affirmative action while being the Republican party's #1 Token Negro has probably scrambled his brain something fierce.

Maybe Thomas can blow off a little steam now that the Repubs have Steele, though.
posted by Avenger at 6:30 PM on June 25, 2009


I've read that one "prescription strength" ibuprofen is equivalent to two OTC ibuprofen. So, not really that powerful.

for whatever reason, the fda has a prescription strength ibprofen - so the allegation is that the girl had prescription drugs on her. under zero tolerance it doesn't matter what the drug is, just that a doctor had to write a script for that specific pill. (i'm opposed to zero tolerance and against strip searching of kids in schools, but it was one of the justifications used)
posted by nadawi at 6:49 PM on June 25, 2009


PS: Props for making a proper post out of this, dejah420. I couldn't get my act together to make a decent one.
posted by sperose at 7:07 PM on June 25, 2009


My favorite quote from an earlier version of the linked NYT story: Justice Stevens wrote on Thursday that “it does not require a constitutional scholar to conclude that a nude search of a 13-year-old child is an invasion of constitutional rights of some magnitude.”
posted by anvilcity at 7:26 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Think what you will of Justice Thomas's opinion; at least he cited precedent.

I thought you were citing Baker v. Farmer.


I thought it was Seka v. Silver.
posted by homunculus at 7:46 PM on June 25, 2009


Justice Stevens wrote on Thursday that "it does not require a constitutional scholar to conclude that a nude search of a 13-year-old child is an invasion of constitutional rights of some magnitude."
posted by anvilcity at 7:26 PM on June 25 [+] [!]


So what he's basically saying is that Justice Thomas doesn't understand the constitution. Excellent.
posted by axiom at 8:45 PM on June 25, 2009


Clarance Thomas is an embarrassment.
posted by caddis at 9:34 PM on June 25, 2009


oops, I misspelled his name but he deserves that anyway. that man deserves zero respect.
posted by caddis at 9:35 PM on June 25, 2009


Prescription strength ibuprofen is 3 pills of regular, as far as I know. 600 mgs of ibuprofen is in the bottle of prescription strength my husband had.

It is a damn shame this had to go all the way to the Supreme Court for something that should be common sense.
posted by SuzySmith at 10:00 PM on June 25, 2009


Let's be clear about the zero-tolerance issue: If someone wants to make the claim that "zero-tolerance" somehow forces crap like this to happen, in order for that person to have an ethical case IMO the person ordering or doing the strip-search has to be in a position where they are not legally permitted to exercise discretion.

That was not the case, here. This was a discretionary search.

So the school had the chance to exercise basic common sense.

The rule itself, though, is already evidence that common sense ain't gonna be common in that environment. Let's get real: Advil is a controlled substance? Really? Meriting a strip-search? Really? Be rational, please: What exactly is the risk, here? Is Advil a gateway drug -- for that matter, is there any statistically significant abuse risk at all?* Then why not use judgement? They used judgement in ordering the search -- ergo, they could have used judgement in not ordering it.

So "zero tolerance" as an ethical justification just has absolutely no weight. (And that's just my legalistic argument. I do hope someone else with more juice and time will leap in to make it clear why zero tolerance is an ethically, morally and pragmatically bankrupt concept to begin with.)

--
*In past reporting on NPR, attorneys for the district have clearly and on tape expressed the view that possession of any prohibited items is a gaping gateway to dangerous activities. I.e., keeping contraband advil is a gateway to heroin or orgies or rape-n-murder or satanism, or something.
posted by lodurr at 7:17 AM on June 26, 2009


Advil is a gateway drug? How on earth did I end up doing drugs before the invention of advil, then?
posted by QIbHom at 7:56 AM on June 26, 2009


Panties become the new drug underground Not a bad band name.
posted by sfts2 at 9:52 PM on June 26, 2009


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