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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

There will be hell...

I read the most interesting and disturbing article today. It was also all over CNN and other major news outlets. I refer, of course, to the Supreme Court hearing a case of a 13 year old girl being strip-searched in school. I don't care what you think about the United States' drug policy. This is a clear Fourth Amendment issue. Ask any police officer what would happen if someone were suspected of dispensing prescription ibuprofen illegally, with each pill having the strength of two over the counter ibuprofen pills. Keep in mind, this is a drug that is available over the counter under several brand names and generics in most stores. This is a drug that not only is unscheduled in the U.S., but is actually on the World Health Organization's "Essential Medicines" list. What would a police officer do, someone who is sworn to uphold the law, do in this situation? Would they strip-search random passers-by? Would they strip-search someone on the word of a witness who was quite possibly trying to get out of trouble? Would they completely ignore both common sense and the Constitution of the United States of America in attempting to get this "contraband"? Or would they politely tell the complainant to piss off?

It is my opinion that, if we are to remain a free society, if we are to keep what liberties we have left, the Supreme Court of the United States of America should uphold the decision of the entire panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and rule against that school and that Vice Principal. In a just world, Vice Principal Kerry Wilson will face grave and lasting civil and criminal consequences for the actions taken on that day. In a just world, the Safford United School district will be forced into bankruptcy and utter insolvency for this heinous breach of common sense and the civil rights of an innocent child. In a just world, there will be hell to pay, and a HELL of a lot of it.

On second thought, there will be hell, regardless of the outcome of this case. There has been and will be the hell suffered by the completely innocent victim of this horribly intrusive and unwarranted search. There will also be hell suffered by one other group of individuals. The question before the Supreme Court in this case is simply this: Will the guilty suffer, or will we as a nation suffer? Will the future generations celebrate this case as we rightly celebrate Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka, KS? Or will they mourn it as we rightfully mourn Dred Scott vs. Sandford? This case will help shape the future soul of this nation. I stand with that which is just, right, and fair. I stand with the generations both present and those to come. It is my most fervent prayer that the Supreme Court chooses to do the same.

"He was Edmond Dantes, and he was my father... and my mother... my brother... my friend. He was you, and me... he was all of us."


Snave said...

Good post.

I haven't studied much law at all, but I did get to look at some Supreme Court cases that had to do with education when I was taking my educational administration classes. Search and seizure cases were some of the most fascinating.

For the sake of the country, I sure hope the Court makes the right decision this time around. In this case, the actions taken to search the student were reprehensible.

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

What I find even more shocking than the tone of the questioning I saw yesterday is the fact that the Supreme Court recently narrowed the search and seizure powers of the police during traffic stops. Police are now unable to search vehicles operated by persons under arrest except in certain circumstances, and yet a 13-year-old may be able to be strip-searched at school on the vaguest suspicion of having 400 mg ibuprofen pills? One's Constitutional rights don't end at the doors of a school, especially if one is a child. Children should be protected from the abuses of adults. Such abuses should not be allowed or encouraged. If this case goes the wrong way and the parents of the victim in this case were to take extralegal means to prevent this from recurring, I could not, in good conscience, convict them if I were on that jury. I would not support said actions, but I could not condemn them either.

I spent all day thinking about what I would do if I were her father, uncle, or other close male relative, what steps I would take to protect her and other children from this type of cruelty and abuse. Honestly, I didn't learn all that much about myself, and I wasn't surprised by my answers. I would use every legal means in my arsenal to make that Vice Principal's life a living hell, and I would instruct my lawyers to make him curse his mother for ever giving birth to him.