25
Jun
09

Student Strip Search Ruled Unconstitutional by U.S. Supreme Court

Some good news on the constitutional rights front; the U.S. Supreme Court has just ruled a school official’s strip search of a public school student unconstitutional in violation of the student’s reasonable expectation of privacy guaranteed under the Fourth Amendment. The opinion can be accessed here:

http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/08pdf/08-479.pdf

While school officials had sufficient cause to search outside the student’s clothing, she had a reasonable expectation of privacy that precluded the officials from demanding that she expose her pelvic area by pulling back her underwear. There was no indication that the student was hiding the suspected drugs in her underwear, thus preventing such an intrusive search in that location.  Score one for privacy rights.  Particularly noteworthy is the fact that the opinion was joined by the conservatives, including Scalia, Roberts and Alito. Thomas joined in the judgment but filed a dissenting opinion.  This is an important case and the Law of Sex reserves full editorial comment until the opinions can be fully scrutinized.

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