While the U.S. Supreme Court is focused on whether the government can force people to buy health care, it’s time to question how smart these people actually are.
Monday, the Supreme Court ruled with a 5-4 vote that a man’s civil rights weren’t violated when he was strip searched after an arrest on a minor offense.
Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to your justice system.
Thus if you are arrested for any offense, the authorities are allowed to subject you to a strip search even if they have no reason to do so.
“Every detainee who will be admitted to the general population [in jail/prison] may be required to undergo a close visual inspection while undressed,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote, who voted in favor of the searches.
Kennedy noted that many people detained for minor offenses could turn out to be dangerous criminals. He pointed toward the Oklahoma City bomber, who was first arrested on driving without a license plate and later a terrorist involved in the 9/11 hijacking was ticketed two days before for speeding.
I guess littering is a telltale sign for the area’s next serial killer.
Remember the Fourth Amendment that guards Americans against unreasonable searches and seizures? It’s the main reason why police are required to get a warrant to search through somebody’s belongings. Apparently, that doesn’t extend to keeping your clothes on.
And these are the people that get to decide the law of the land?
Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who voted against the searches, wrote that the searches were “a serious affront to human dignity and to individual privacy.”
The Supreme Court ruling arose from the arrest of Albert W. Florence from New Jersey in 2005. He was in the passenger seat of his BMW, with his wife driving, when a state trooper pulled them over for speeding. He had an outstanding warrant for an unpaid fine (although the information was wrong and he had already paid it), and he was arrested and subsequently strip searched in prison.
It’s enough to have me walk through the fancy metal detectors and take the occasional pat down from the TSA at the airport, when I still read about the periodic knife or gun slipping through security. But if I have a parking ticket, the police are justified to strip search me?
What’s Justice Kennedy’s response? “Gangs do coerce inmates who have access to the outside world, such as people serving their time on the weekends to sneak things into the jail,” he wrote.
So I should be willing to drop my pants because I might be a lackey for gang members in jail?
“Even when carried out in a respectful manner, and even absent any touching, such searches are inherently harmful, humiliating, and degrading,” Breyer wrote in the dissent. “I have found no convincing reason indicating that, in the absence of reasonable suspicion, involuntary strip searches of those arrested for minor offenses are necessary in order to further the penal interests mentioned. And there are strong reasons to believe they are not justified.”
Before their ruling, strip searches were forbidden by statutes in at least 10 states and at odds against many international human rights treaties.
Next time the police stop by your apartment due to a noise disturbance, get ready to disrobe thanks to the morons in the robes.