Let’s see. No matter that you’re not actually guilty of anything, or that you haven’t even been charged. All they need to do is hold you. It doesn’t even matter that blanket strip-search policies are considered human rights violations in other, more civilized countries. No, to the extremely permeable Supreme Court weathersock Anthony Kennedy, all that matters is which direction the hot air of Tony “The Honey Badger” Scalia blows him, and that’s where he goes:
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that officials may strip-search people arrested for any offense, however minor, before admitting them to jails even if the officials have no reason to suspect the presence of contraband.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, joined by the court’s conservative wing, wrote that courts are in no position to second-guess the judgments of correctional officials who must consider not only the possibility of smuggled weapons and drugs, but also public health and information about gang affiliations.
“Every detainee who will be admitted to the general population may be required to undergo a close visual inspection while undressed,” Justice Kennedy wrote, adding that about 13 million people are admitted each year to the nation’s jails.
Dear God, I just want to say it would be kind of neat if You managed to get Justice Kennedy singled out for personal attention by the TSA the next time he take a plane. Just for empathy purposes, of course!
The procedures endorsed by the majority are forbidden by statute in at least 10 states and are at odds with the policies of federal authorities. According to a supporting brief filed by the American Bar Association, international human rights treaties also ban the procedures.
The federal appeals courts had been split on the question, though most of them prohibited strip-searches unless they were based on a reasonable suspicion that contraband was present. The Supreme Court did not say that strip-searches of every new arrestee were required; it ruled, rather, that the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of unreasonable searches did not forbid them.
Just like the right-wing attempts to force drug tests on people collecting unemployment benefits, Justice Kennedy’s fantasies aren’t grounded in actual reality:
Justice Breyer wrote that there was very little empirical support for the idea that strip-searches detect contraband that would not have been found had jail officials used less intrusive means, particularly if strip-searches were allowed when officials had a reasonable suspicion that they would find something.
For instance, in a study of 23,000 people admitted to a correctional facility in Orange County, N.Y., using that standard, there was at most one instance of contraband detected that would not otherwise have been found, Judge Breyer wrote.