Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Justice's Reach Should Exceed His Grasp, or What's a Constitution for?

It's incredible that the U.S. Supreme Court majority sided with those who think "unreasonable search and seizure" doesn't include strip-searching a person without at least a reasonable suspicion.

Strip-searching everyone in custody leads to cases like those cited by Justice Stephen Breyer in his dissent. Real cases submitted to the court include people who were arrested for a noisy muffler, failing to use a turn signal, and not having a loud-enough bell on a bicycle.

Even more incredible was the lack of logic in Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion. Sounding more like a paranoid than a justice, he wrote "people detained for minor offenses can turn out to be the most devious and dangerous criminals," and then gave the example of Tim McVeigh, who was stopped for lacking a license plate, and one of the 9/11 hijackers, who was stopped for speeding.

But strip-searching either of those men wouldn't have exposed the plots they were about to carry out, would it? Were they hiding explosives in their rectums while driving their cars?

Kennedy's is not an argument for strip-searching people in custody -- it's an argument for searching every vehicle stopped for a minor infraction. Which wasn't allowed, the last time I checked. Or better yet, why not set up checkpoints to search every vehicle on the road, like Iraq at the worst point in the U.S. occupation. Because who knows how many of those devious and dangerous criminals manage to drive without speeding or forgetting to put on a license plate?

It's good to know which side is in favor of limited government.


Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Of all the losses our country has suffered lately, the loss of a principled and respect-worthy Supreme Court may be what pains me the most.

Ms Sparrow said...

This sounds like the paranoia of an elderly man. Justice Breyer was robbed on the street earlier this year and it makes you wonder how much that contributed to Kennedy's mindset. I'm sure he would not have ruled that way if he were a younger man!