Bench Memos

The “Strip Search” Case Mentioned in the IndependentCourts Anti-Alito Ad

Circulating from conservative legal types about the case, Doe v. Groody:

Liberals have distorted this ruling, saying Judge Alito approved a so-called “strip-search” of a 10-year old girl which is completely false. First, Alito’s ruling was not a policy statement, but a qualified, technical ruling on the difficult question of how a search warrant and the accompanying affidavit should be read together. Attached to the warrant was an affidavit from police, noting the necessity of searching anyone found at the house, because drug dealers routinely hide drugs on other people during raids.

During the raid, a female officer asked the dealer’s wife and daughter to go to a private bathroom, turn out their pockets, and then remove their clothes for a visual (not manual) inspection by her. Notably, the other two judges on the panel, who ruled that the affidavit could not be taken into account, never used the term “strip search” (except in summarizing the lawsuit’s claims).

Liberals have characterized Judge Alito’s position as approving of the strip-search of a young girl. The legal reality actually involved a technical question on the scope of a warrant and affidavit. But if liberals want to take this policy position that these searches are unacceptable, then they need to explain why they want to incentivize drug dealers to involve young children in their drug trade.

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