The US Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday on Safford Unified School District v. Redding, the case of the 13 year-old middle school girl stripped-searched by her school’s assistant principal in a fruitless search for prescription-strength Ibuprofen.
In a nutshell…school administrators found prescription-strength Ibuprofen on a student. That student claimed that she had received them from then 13 year-old Honor student Savana Redding. Savanna was questioned, then taken to a room where two female officials made Savana remove her shoes, socks, pants, and shirt. She was then told to shake her bra and underpants and move them aside, exposing her breasts and pelvic area, to reveal any hidden pills. None were found.
Savanna’s family sued the School District, claiming that Savanna’s Fourth Amendment rights had been violated. The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the District Court of Arizona’s earlier ruling for the defense, and the School District appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Key points in the appeal:
- Whether the Fourth Amendment prohibits public school officials from conducting a search of a student suspected of possessing and distributing a prescription drug on campus in violation of school policy.
- Whether the Ninth Circuit departed from established principles of qualified immunity in holding that a public school administrator may be liable in a damages lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for conducting a search of a student suspected of possessing and distributing a prescription drug on campus.
Here is the text of The Fourth Amendment:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
In a nutshell…no search without a warrant, no warrant without probable cause, warrant to be “supported by Oath or affirmation”, detailing what exactly will be searched.
The only thing left to be decided here, seems to be whether a 13 year-old girl falls under the description of “the people”, and if we truly believe what our Declaration of Independence says, our rights are granted at birth, by the Creator.
Justice Breyer commented on the strip search during Tuesday’s hearing:
“I’ve got suspicion that some drug is on this kid’s person. My thought process is: 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.”
Justice Breyer appears to be confused on his exact role in these proceedings, he is supposed to be concerned about the Constitution, not about the kids.
Then again, there appears to be a lot of confusion about who is supposed to do what in this whole issue, right from the beginning.
We have Middle School girls behaving like snitches, and school officials conducting warrantless strip searches, in addition to Supreme Court Justices acting like child-care personnel.
The truth of the matter is that this case present the SCOTUS with a sticky mess…if they find that this search was unconstitutional, they may very well void out ALL warrantless searches; the cornerstone of the failed War on Drugs.
I am afraid that Savanna Redding is going to be the next victim of the War on Drugs, adding her name to a list that begins with our Fourth Amendment rights, and cotinues with the death of a 13 year-old Honor student’s future.
So while the State of Arizona is cracking down on the abuse of prescriptoin Ibuprofen, 300 metric tons of cocaine, and in excess of 1,100 metric tons of marijuana will be consumed by US citizens this year.
I’d say that this war is lost.