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Today in the War On (Some Classes of People Who Use Some) Drugs


I will have some more about this remarkable article about the corruption and power abuses of local sheriffs imminently. But I think this incident merits a post of its own:

“There’s a glorified notion of local sovereignty that flies in the face of 200 years of constitutional progress in the United States,” said Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonprofit focusing on issues of democracy and equal rights. “Sheriffs have an important role, but the fact that they’re elected does not mean they’re not required to operate within the law and the Constitution.”
This year, the sheriff in Worth County, Ga., ordered his deputies to enter the local high school in search of drugs. They lined up 850 students with legs spread and hands against the hallway walls. Deputies inserted fingers into girls’ bras, and touched their underwear and genital areas while searching in their waistbands or reaching up their dresses, according to the Southern Center, which sued the sheriff.

The deputies had no warrant or other authority to conduct the search, the suit charged. No drugs were found.

At least there was a decent ending, with a major settlement and the sheriff who ordered the search replaced.

Speaking of moral panics inspiring revolting invasions of privacy, many of you will remember the case of Savana Redding, a 13-year-old girl who was strip searched by school principals based on self-serving and uncorroborated accusations that she possessed prescription-strength ibuprofen. She won at the Supreme Court 8-1. The 9CA opinion the Court affirmed had a particularly outrageous dissent that split every hair and made every illogical leap to defend the indefensible. This dissent was joined by…Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, who has managed to parlay his very sporadic departures from standard-issue Reagan authoritarianism into the reputation as a “libertarian,” and is also a massive sexist. Amazing how that happens.

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