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?