Another day, another 5-4 Supreme Court ruling. This time, it was regarding the legality of strip searches for even the most minor of legal issues. The 5-4 vote gave the OK for jailers to strip search basically ANYONE who is in their custody. The case arose when a man who was arrested by mistake, for a very minor violation of not paying a fine. The man remained in jail for an entire week, and TWICE was strip-searched while in jail. It was then found out the state records saying he had an outstanding fine were incorrect.
It’s bad enough that an innocent man was mistakenly jailed for a very minor offense and was kept in jail for a week. But strip-searching a man for (supposedly) not paying a fine? The jackass conservative judges on the Supreme Court stated strip searches were justified, given that “People detained for minor offenses can turn out to be the most devious and dangerous criminals.” Uh…OK. “People” in general can be devious and dangerous…does that mean it would be OK for the police to randomly strip search anyone they come across, just because they MIGHT be “devious and dangerous”?
After 9-11 and the Bush administration, we’ve already set the abhorrent precedent that it’s OK to incarcerate people for YEARS, without charge, and without ANY legal representation or hearing to defend themselves. There are human beings who have been in Guantanamo for a decade now, without ever being offered the chance to legally defend themselves. This ruling further leads us down the path where basic human rights and civil liberties are completely ignored in the U.S.
The story itself is maddening, but the reason I started this post wasn’t even so much the ruling itself, but because of 1) the complete hypocrisy from the conservative judges on the bench, and 2) that yet again, we have a SCOTUS decision that’s perfectly split between “conservative” and “liberal” judges. Republicans bitch and moan about government interference in people’s lives…but yet they seem to have NO problem with the infringement on basic human rights and dignity in a case like this. Republicans act indignant about ObamaCare, saying government has gone “too far” and intruded into peoples’ lives, but they have NO problem having a completely innocent man being jailed and twice strip-searched, just because he MIGHT have been a criminal. Given the comments that Roberts and others made last week during the ObamaCare arguments, don’t you think they’d feel just a wee bit hypocritical for giving a thumbs up to an even bigger intrusion of government into peoples’ lives?
If you want to talk about government intrusion into peoples’ lives, perhaps the conservative justices on the Supreme Court should look at THEMSELVES and how they seem personally determined to turn the U.S. into a right-wing utopia. It’s completely laughable how Republicans have railed against “activist judges” on the left, when the 5 conservatives on the Roberts court seem hell-bent on rewriting the laws of the Nation to reflect their OWN PERSONAL CONSERVATIVE BIASES.
E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post today had a great column on the “stealthy coup” that right-wingers are staging within the Republican Party, a coup that seems to have extended to the right-wing activist judges on the Supreme Court. There’s also a nice story on Slate.com about the Roberts court. They correctly point out that the Roberts joke of a Supreme Court is threatening to take our entire legal system down a path where politics trumps law. They also make a great point, that Democrats have a great opportunity to make right-wing judges, including the Roberts Supreme Court, a major campaign issue this year.
What the articles fail to point out though is the complete stupidity of the American public. Americans are too focused on the price of gas going up a nickel or who is going to win American Idol to pay any attention to how their very freedoms are under threat from a right-wing Republican Party.