A few weeks ago, I ranted about wrote a post about how the conservatism in the States has started to resemble the conservatism of the Emirates.  A few of you reminded me of little things like democracy, and freedom of religion, and the vigorous (albeit frequently unheard) voices of dissent who are fighting back against that conservatism in the US (yes, and in the UAE, too). Okay. Point taken. Democracy is better than a benevolent dictatorship. True ‘dat.

But then the Supreme Court goes and authorizes strip searches for anyone arrested for any offense. I throw up my hands in despair. What’s a gal to do, when asked to defend the path her country has taken?

Okay. The Supremes didn’t say that strip searches are required; they only said that the Fourth Amendment (individuals should not be subjected to unreasonable searches) didn’t preclude a strip search. Or, to use the more delicate terminology deployed by the justices: a close visual inspection by a guard while naked (we assume this misplaced modifier is a reporter’s mistake and that none of our brilliant justices would want to imply that the guard was naked rather than the suspect).

Apparently the majority of the Supremes live in a world where, according to Justice Kennedy, “people detained for minor offenses can turn out to be the most devious and dangerous criminals.” Call me paranoid, but that’s the kind of logic that got Trayvon Martin killed: a boy in a hoodie looks suspicious and ends up dead.  Anyone who breaks the law might be harboring a bomb, a weapon, contraband, or tattoos that point to a gang affiliation. You know that “live free, die young” tat you got when you were drunk in Cancun that one time? Yeah. You’re screwed. Clearly you’re some kind of gang-banger.

Any offense might lead you to being stripped and searched enjoying a close visual inspection while naked.. Leash-law violations? Drop your trousers, bucko, because you’re not glad to see me, that’s a pistol you’ve got in there. One of your headlights is out? Yep. Take off your bra, lady, because you’re carrying contraband in your Natori under-wire.

Would anyone like to venture a guess about who might be subject to strip searches? Exactly. Rich white guys driving too fast in their Porsche Panameras. They are totally going to feel the brunt of this law.

Justice Kennedy, in his decision for the majority, wrote that “one of the terrorists involved in the Sept. 11 attacks was stopped and ticketed for speeding just two days before hijacking Flight 93.”

Right. And if he’d been strip-searched, the traffic cops would have seen…what? A tattoo of Bin Laden on his back? (Muslim law forbids tattoos, just FYI.) Perhaps the plans for the hijacking sticking out of his ass?

It’s horrifying that the terrorists waltzed through airport security checkpoints; it’s terrifyingly ironic that one of them was stopped and got a speeding ticket two days before bringing such destruction into the world. But would asking them to drop trou at any point have prevented the 9/11 attacks?  According to the 9/11 Commission that studied these attacks, there were many failures that enabled the 9/11 nightmares, but nowhere in their findings do they say “strip searches would really have aided in preventing the attacks.”

What the Supremes have just done instead opens the door to an even greater mis-use of police authority than the case that led to this decision, in which Albert Florence (a man of color, which I’m totally sure is just a coincidence) was arrested because of an outstanding warrant. The warrant was for an unpaid fine…but the fine had, in fact, been paid.

Seems to me that what gets stripped in this decision is a whole lot more than people. What do you think of that, Justices Kennedy, Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito (does anyone else forget about Alito? He’s like the ghost justice.)  Your decision strips away that whole “innocent until proven guilty” thing: now anyone can be treated as guilty. Congratulations, guys. You’ve brought the US one step closer to the dark ages.


linking up this rant to yeahwrite this week.  yeahwrite is where us mini-bloggers (which is not to say that we’re small. just…well curated) – anyway, it’s where writers strut their best stuff. click through, read around, leave lots of comment love, then return later in the week and vote for your faves.  what could be better? other than a new set of supremes, that is…