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Obama’s DOJ And the Arbitrary Strip Search



That there is such vehement condemnation over this strip-search ruling, almost all of which ignores the fact that the Obama administration was fully on board with it and helped to bring it about, is — as this VastLeft cartoon suggests — a microcosm for how and why that has happened.

A few points:

  • I actually don’t really think it’s terribly strange that the commentary on the Supreme Court’s decision didn’t focus on the amicus brief filed by the DOJ (in my case, I didn’t know about it.)   When there’s a bad Supreme Court decision that doesn’t actually involve an administration policy I think focusing on the Court rather than the president is pretty typical.   If you look through my archives for posts about bad Supreme Court decisions during the Bush administration, I think you’ll find that criticisms focused on the Court even in cases where the Bush administration filed an amicus brief on the wrong side, which I think is true of most people who write about the courts.
  • Making criticism of the Obama administration the primary takeaway in this case seems fairly odd, since 1)the causal connection is very weak, and 2)in terms of the most direct impact he had on the case, Obama’s two nominees both dissented.  Had one of the Democratic appointees provided the swing vote then I think the DOJ’s role would be much more central, and obviously had the swing vote come from Sotomayor or Kagan this would be even more true.   But it seems very unlikely that the DOJ brief had much influence on Kennedy.
  • I of course unreservedly condemn the Obama administration for supporting the reprehensible New Jersey policy and deplore even the slightest chance that it had an effect in leading to an awful Supreme Court decision.
  • As is usually the case, I don’t see what Glenn sees in the latest VastLeft strawman burning.  Omitted: any liberal critic of Florence v. County of Burlington who withdrew or moderated their criticism when informed that the Obama administration had supported the state’s position.   Personally, I reiterate my critique, which it’s safe to assume will be true of everybody else.   It also strikes me that a 5-4 Supreme Court decision that breaks along straight party lines is not the ideal basis for Gush-Borism, but to each their own.
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