IU Maurer School of Law-Bloomington
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 25, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- In Safford United School District No. 1 v. Redding (08-479), U.S. Supreme Court justices ruled today (June 25) that a strip search was unconstitutional, although individual school administrators cannot be sued.
The lawsuit was initiated after an eighth-grade female honors student was strip-searched by school officials looking for ibuprofen pain reliever. A federal magistrate and three-panel appeals court found the search was reasonable, but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found the search "traumatizing" and illegal.
Craig Bradley, Robert A. Lucas Professor of Law at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, anticipated a different ruling. "This holding is narrow, with the Supreme Court suggesting that had illegal or dangerous drugs been suspected, the result would have been different, as well as that a strip search would have been permitted if it had been alleged that she was carrying the drugs in her underwear," he said. "The court held the school's principal exempt from damages because the law was unclear prior to this case. This outcome seems a reasonable compromise between those who are concerned with giving schools ample power to deal with illegal drugs and those who want to protect the privacy interests of students."
Bradley's teaching and research interests include constitutional law and criminal law and procedure. A former clerk for Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and assistant U.S. attorney, he has worked extensively with foreign legal systems, including as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Criminal Law in Germany and a Fulbright Senior Fellow at Australian National University. His most recent books include Criminal Procedure: A Worldwide Study and The Rehnquist Legacy.
He can be reached at 812-855-1257 or by e-mail at email@example.com.