Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Court to Hear School Stripping Case Today

Back in March, Josh reported that the Supreme Court would be hearing the Safford United School District v. Redding case regarding the constitutionality of school strip searches, and offered his opinion that "the Court should hold the strip search to be unconstitutional."

The Court is hearing the case today, and Professor Kerr at Volokh has weighed in on the matter, predicting "that the Supreme Court will agree with the Ninth Circuit that the strip searches . . . are unconstitutional."

We'll continue tracking the story, and will alert you to any new developments. In the interim, we recommend you check out the briefs (linked at Volokh) and invite you to share your thoughts on how the Court will rule.


  1. Its a sad reality, but school children are increasingly engaing in criminal activity. Strip searches sound extreme, but are in some cases the only way. How could the court ignore that reality?

  2. True, 12:08 but there are a lot of real threats out there and we can't just throw our rights away.

  3. @12:08;

    I think the answer as to whether schools are permitted to strip search is an unequivocal yes. But, the question here is not whether strip searches may be necessary in some cases, but rather, the amount of suspicion that is required prior to conducting such an intrusive search.

    If a school was subjecting you, or a child of yours, to a strip search, wouldn't you expect them to have a damn good reason? Perhaps probable cause?

    This isn't ignoring reality. This is understanding that there are rights to privacy that must balanced against the reality that student's do, in fact, engage in crime.

  4. But what about qualified immunity? Will that prevent recovery?

  5. 2:20's question is an interesting one. While I know the Saucier v. Katz court held that Fourth Amendment reasonableness is distinct from the qualified immunity question of whether the mistake as to the law is reasonable, I think this kind of case makes the distinction kind of irrelevant because the facts are so egregious. But Prof Kerr does have a point that the test is very factually intensive.


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