I’ve been following this case since I first heard about then-13-year-old Savana Redding’s forced strip search at school. Redding was accused of having pills in her undergarments (The hard drugs in question? Prescription-strength Ibuprofen, which is equivalent to two Advils). Acting on no other evidence but another student’s claim, the school then forced Redding to strip so that they could search her undergarments.
Today, everyone except Clarence Thomas ruled that Redding’s 4th Amendment rights had been violated. Justice Souter wrote:
“In sum, what was missing from the suspected facts that pointed to Savana was any indication of danger to the students from the power of the drugs or their quantity, and any reason to suppose that Savana was carrying pills in her underwear,” the court said. “We think that the combination of these deficiencies was fatal to finding the search reasonable.”