Thursday, June 25, 2009

Supreme Court: Strip Searching 13 y/o Girl Was Illegal

The Supreme Court has ruled 8-1 that the strip search of Savana Redding, which was motivated by rumors that she had two Ibuprofen pills in her possession, was illegal. The dissenting justice? Clarence Thomas, of course. However, the majority did rule that the vice principal who ordered the search could not be held liable for it, while Stevens and Ginsburg dissented from that opinion, noting that ordering the search was "abusive" and that he should have known it was not legally permissible.


  1. One thing that bugged me about this case was when NPR reported during oral arguments the Justices asked if it would be constitutionally different if a 13 year old boy was subjected to the same search and Justice Ginsburg said something to the effect "While boys may enjoy preening in the locker room, girls do not."

    I found Justice Ginsburg understanding of what it would be like to be a 13 year old boy and strip searched in front of the school officials and not a fucking locker room, her utter lack of empathy or sympathy disturbing... not even acknowledging that it could be traumatic.

    Starting at 3:50

  2. Lyndsay6/25/2009

    So...does anything happen now? It was illegal but if the vice principal can't be held liable does Savana Redding get anything?

  3. Lyndsay,

    I think that the principal and others had qualified immunity becuase the law was not clear.

    Now the law is clear and any one else that does the same or simular will not have that qualified immunity.

    If you know a actual lawyer they might be able to tell you more authoritativly.

  4. Steven,

    I hadn't heard that quote from Ginsburg, but I agree that the distinction shouldn't be made in this case - it seems like being strip searched by school officials would be humiliating for any kid.


    My impression is that the main point of the case was to force a change in school policy everywhere. Of course, it would have been nice if Savana could have sued, but it seems that she's moved on and is a well-adjusted college student now.