Supreme Court Rules Any Offense, However Minor, Allows for a Strip Search

Post submission by Aram James: The US Supreme Court today –in a 5-4 decision (Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of County of Burlington) ripped at the heart of our of 4th Amendment – our right to be free of illegal and unreasonable searches and seizures; and our right to insist that before the government invades our privacy, our homes, our cars, our bodies—that they must have probable cause to do so.  Today’s decision does away with the probable cause requirement for strip-searches– for even the most minor offense i.e., violation of a leash law.

Today’s decision states only that jail officials may strip-search anyone arrested who will subsequently be placed in the general population of a jail or prison –even for the most innocuous offense—not that they have to or must be strip-searched.  The decision leaves wide-open discretion to jail officials to determine who and under what circumstances someone shall be subject to an invasive strip-search.

Now—more than ever, it will be incumbent on local community activists/watchdogs to ensure –as the dissenters in this US Supreme court decision declared – that strip-searches only occur if there is reasonable and probable cause to believe that the person being admitted to jail/prison —may be secreting and or attempting to bring illegal contraband into the jail facility– and or constitutes some other articulable health or safety concern.

 We need to know what the current standards are in our county for carrying out evasive strip-searches and insist that probable cause still be the standard —before folks are strip-searched and humiliated after being arrested for offense that doesn’t justify a strip search or justify shredding a way the personal dignity of any human being without serious cause.


2 thoughts on “Supreme Court Rules Any Offense, However Minor, Allows for a Strip Search

  1. I’m going to assume the Supremes were worried about the poor correctional officers and their safety and the safety of other prisoners. And I admit that’s a worthy goal–but one that must be addressed in the context of the Constitution, specifically the Fourth Amendment. If you have to violate the Constitution to do the business of the country that’s based on the Constitution, you’ll soon end up with no Constitution or country or business.

  2. Impeach – the only recourse against unconstitutional ruling by Supreme Court

    What can we do when the Supreme Court rules against the Constitution? Apparently, nothing. There are no legal protections against a biased Supreme Court decision. Apparently, Founding Fathers wrote up the checks and balances outline without considering that Supreme Court Justices might be bought and paid for.

    This latest Supreme Court decision against the people further reveals the symbiotic (or is the word complicit?) nature of the relationship between courts and law enforcement that generates financial benefit, not only for courts and law enforcement, but for correctional institutions in that trickle-down sequence.

    We already know that police will fabricate violations, manipulate evidence and witnesses, and more in order to “bring in the bad guys.†Courts continue the abuse by misinforming, misrepresenting, and continuing manipulation of the system to work against those they choose to discriminate against. Not necessarily based on race.

    No single entity has the power to overturn a US Supreme Court ruling. No other part of government can nullify a Supreme Court decision. If the Supreme Court strikes down a federal law, Congress can modify the law until it is such that the Supreme Court has to revisit their previous ruling.

    Official ways for a Supreme Court ruling to be overturned:
    1) The Court can reverse an earlier decision by making a contradictory decision on a current case.
    2) Congress and the States can overturn a decision by amending the Constitution.

    But all is not lost:
    Appaerntly, we can impeach Supreme Court Justices who undermine principles of the Constitution.

    Who would you choose to impeach? Consider this:
    Scalia doesn’t believe the 4th Amendment protects against discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation.

    Scalia went duck hunting with Dick Cheney in the week before Cheney’s case was to be heard by the court: Cheney v. United States District Court (June 24, 2004) Guess which side Scalia ruled for…

    Who is on the Court, an appointed by whom

    Other Supreme Court:


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