High Court May Favor School In Strip-Search Case


The Supreme Court seems likely to give school officials broad discretion in drug probes, even allowing strip searches, Legal Times reports. In oral arguments yesterday involving an Arizona girl who was strip searched on suspicion of having an ibuprofen pill, Justice David Souter said, “I would rather have the kid embarrassed by a strip search, if we can’t find anything short of that, than to have some other kids dead because the stuff is distributed at lunchtime and things go awry.”

It seemed that several justices were sufficiently concerned about the problem of drugs and schools that they are willing to side with the schools. Justice Anthony Kennedy crafted hypotheticals involving methamphetamine to demonstrate the gravity of the problem school officials face. Other justices challenged American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Adam Wolf, who represented the school girl when he said that, “The Fourth Amendment does not [] countenance the rummaging on or around a 13-year-old girl’s naked body.” Still, in a scolding tone, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the court’s only female justice, made it clear that she knows how humiliating such a search would be for a school girl.

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