Thursday, June 25, 2009

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is a Knucklehead

Sure, and Scalia is an affable but scary nutjob, and this is not likely to be news to any of you hyperintelligent sexy beasts who follow the L&TM5K. But check this out:

The High Court today shambled to the startling conclusion that school administrators in Arizona had been a little out of line when they conducted a forced strip-search of a 13 year old girl suspected of packing -- wait for it! -- ibuprofin. Even Justice Scalia felt that perhaps people shouldn't have to suffer that kind of indignity! Justice Thomas, however, filed a dissenting opinion.

Thomas complains that his colleagues' ruling "grants judges sweeping authority to second-guess the measures that [school] officials take to maintain discipline in their schools and ensure the health and safety of the students in their charge." And you know what? He's right! And there's a reason for that! It's because Constitutional protections are supposed to be, you know, sweeping and authoritative! And Judges are supposed to enforce them. That is what a justice system is FOR!

But it's pretty inefficient, though, isn't it, all of that second-guessing? It's interesting to boil Thomas' point here (and on most cases, it seems) to its essentials. What he's really arguing is that granting a civil protection (privacy) is going to be a huge hassle for people in authority (school administrators). And that they should be spared that hassle, because it makes it harder for them to wield their authority. Let's extrapolate!

  • Miranda rights? Huge hassle for cops!
  • Humane treatment of prisoners? Huge hassle for jailors!
  • Rental law? Huge hassle for landlords!
  • Labor law? Huge hassle for employers!
  • Environmental law? Huge hassle for industry!
  • Colonists demanding a voice in Parliament? Huge hassle for the King!

There's one thing that can be said for sure about Justice Thomas's conception of the Constitution: it would sure cut back on all the paperwork. And that's good, right?


Rebel said...

And I do so love my Constitutionally protected rights. I really rather miss them actually. =/

Elaine said...

My favorite part was that two Justices dissented in part--stating that the victim should have been granted damages. Wanna guess whether the school district will even apologize?

Yankee in England said...

It is a huge hassel that I have to spend a massive amount of my hard earned money each month paying for a crappy train service. I am wondering if I should take it to the European High court.

Yeah Ibuprophen that is some serious shit man. Really sad that the poor girl has gotten mixed up in the kind of thing. Starts out with the Ibuprophen and then just spirals down hill to things like Advil. Really does the school in Arizon have nothing better to do than strip search for that kind of thing.

Having said that in the UK you can only buy two packets of 16 pain killers at any one store at a time. Apparently people use it to try and overdose. Kind of backwards though because from one end of the high street to the other there are 9 outlets that sell it so I am thinking a short trip up the high street out to be enough to atain the required amount to end ones life.

Jennifer said...

Sadly, I think he actually agrees with your reductio ad absurdum arguments.

Kritkrat said...

Wait? Are you talking about something other than Michael Jackson? Isn't that, like, blasphemy or something?

Dug said...

Some say that Michael Jackson also liked to strip search 13 year-olds.

boo said...

I am pleased that they took the same logic and applied it to the expert witnesses concerning evidence at trials too.

Yes, it is going to be a hassle in some circumstances, but it is worth the time if only to assure those on trial that they are being treated as fairly as possible.

I haven't read the docs on them yet, but will at least in full for the strip search one.

What do you want to bet that the reaction to this will be many public schools going to uniforms? Some already do of course. I don't think it is as bad an idea as when I was a teen primarily due to the financial benefits and the refocus on the tasks at hand instead of wardrobe. We'll see.

boo said...

"this" should be "there" but I am not sure where.

Michael5000 said...

@Kadonk: Thank you! I won my bet with myself that I would be taken to task for a Michael Jackson-free post!

Having said that, the Life & Times of Michael5000 would like to extend its deepest sympathy to the families, friends, and fans of all recently departed celebrities.

chuckdaddy said...

Clarence Thomas really is a terrible terrible judge. Besides his bad politics, I've heard he rarely asks question and stands out for a lack of legal knowledge.

But what do you expect when identity politics got taken to their weirdest extreme. Republicans wanted to show Democrats two could play that game, and had their hearts set on a black arch-conservative.

Let's do the math. African-Americans make up about 12% of the US population. 90% of blacks (I believe)vote Democrat. So to even choose a black Republican means you have only about 1.2% of the population to pick from. And how many of that 1.2% are arch-conservatives? With backgrounds as judges? I mean, I have to ask, who was his competition? Anyone?

Bridget said...

Clever . . . amusing . . . timely . . . and (almost) Michael Jackson free! Clearly, I've been away too long!

Anonymous said...

Sends a shutter down my spine*

* see US Supreme Ct. transcript.

Michael5000 said...

@Anon: I beg your pardon?