Friday, June 26, 2009

Clarence Thomas is Crazy

There are times to stand on principal - and I guess offering the lone dissenting vote poses no danger - and there are times that doing so just makes you look like a complete idiot. Exhibit A for today is the dissenting vote from Clarence Thomas in the decision to rule an Arizona middle school's strip search of a thirteen-year-old girl unconstitutional. According to the Denver Post:

The case, Safford Unified School District #1 vs. Redding, began when another student was found with prescription- strength ibuprofen and said she received it from Redding.

Safford Middle School assistant principal Kerry Wilson pulled the honors student out of class, and she consented in his office to a search of her backpack and outer clothes. When that turned up no pills, he had a school nurse take Redding to her office, where she was told to remove her clothes, shake out her bra and pull her underwear away from her body, exposing her breasts and pelvic area.

No drugs were found, and Redding said she was so humiliated that she never returned to the school. Her mother filed suit against the school district, as well as Wilson.

Justice David Souter rationally argued "there was no indication of any danger to the student from the power or quantity of the drugs, no any reason to suspect [she] was carrying any pills in her underwear." In the dissent, Thomas mindlessly argued "judges are not qualified to second-guess the best manner for maintaining quiet and order in a school environment."

However, judges are allowed to use common sense and rational. Maintaining "quiet"? I've never really thought highly of Thomas' perspectives - this is just reason number 75 why he aligns himself with the crazier side of conservatism.


Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

Yeah, I read that in the paper and thought his decision was based on some sort of strange old-school "the principal is God" sort of idealism myself.

I found it equally crazy that they could say the search wasn't Constitutional, but the school officials are somehow immune from prosecution? Then again, these are the same folks that think that local government should be able to take private property and allow redevelopment of "blighted" areas. You know, the ones not generating enough income? Those.

Dennis Fermoyle said...

In the dissent, Thomas mindlessly argued "judges are not qualified to second-guess the best manner for maintaining quiet and order in a school environment."

You've got to know that I LOVE that statement, but even I think that in this case the school went too far.

Mrs. C., how ya doin'? I must say that I am grateful that the court ruled that the school officials shouldn't be prosecuted. Even though I think their judgment was flawed, as long as they were acting in good faith--and I think they were--they should not have to worry about being sued.

Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

Hey, Dennis! I've missed you!

Well, I also read that statement and wondered about "quiet and order" given the fact that often it is the SCHOOLS who often pressure parents to drug their children to achieve it... and here they're searching for drugs... ironic.

Then again, I'm on the other side of the school power issue in that I am "connected" with people who have been abused by the system to a much greater degree than any good teacher would likely be.

I have heard of parents threatened with social services if they do not medically evaluate/drug their children or cooperate on an IEP. It rankles me that if a teacher is *certified* in my state, he is immune from prosecution for paddling, closet-locking, use of restraints, etc. on disabled children. But I could lose my children if I angered them enough and they called CPS on me.

Mm... IMO the balance of power is off in regards to the immunity thing.