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May 5th, 2022

Sam Alito’s Indifference To The Humanity Of Women, Children, And Democracy

I’m surprised this case from his past isn’t getting more attention now. This man has a stunningly congenital indifference to the humanity of women and children, and nowhere was that indifference more evident than in his decision and his behavior in Doe v. Groody, which came out during his confirmation hearing in 2005. From WikiPedia

The Doe v. Groody, 361 F.3d 232 (3d Cir. 2004) lawsuit concerned a strip-search of a 10-year-old girl and her mother despite the fact that neither were criminal suspects nor named in any search warrant. In applying for a search warrant, officers requested the right to search whoever was in the house and were refused that request.

The Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania Drug Task Force suspected the husband and father of the plaintiffs of selling methamphetamines so they procured a search warrant for him, the house, his car and anyone customers that were present. The wife and daughter were not listed as suspects. When the police were executing the warrant, they had a female parking enforcement officer take the wife and daughter to the bathroom and perform a strip search but no drugs were found on them. When the pair sued, the police officers claimed qualified immunity.

They had no warrant to search the mother and daughter, but they strip searched them anyway. The district court and the appeals court held that under “…any reasonable reading, the warrant in this case did not authorize the search of the mother and daughter, and that the search was not otherwise justified.” 

But the appeals court decision would have been unanimous save for one judge who didn’t think the cops had done anything wrong. Guess who. 

Judge Samuel Alito wrote a dissenting opinion saying that police officers did not violate the Constitution when they strip-searched the mother and her ten-year-old daughter. Alito stated in section I of his dissent that the affidavit accompanying the warrant “…seeks permission to search all occupants of the residence…” and argues, again in section I, that “The warrant indisputably incorporated the affidavit…”

Judge Michael Chertoff’s majority opinion asserted that Alito’s position would effectively nullify the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement and “transform the judicial officer into little more than the cliché rubber stamp.”

But there’s more the Wiki article doesn’t mention. During arguments Alito peevishly asked the lawyer for the girl “Why do you keep bringing up the fact that this case involves the strip search of a 10-year-old child?” His defenders at his confirmation hearing said that simply reflected his strict approach to law and order issues, and giving the police the widest possible (and then some) latitude. But the fact is the case Did involve strip searching a 10 year old girl, and it plainly irritated him to be reminded of that fact, as if it should have had any bearing on what happens when police take the law into their own hands.

And it is probably the exact moment when right wing culture warriors knew they had a winner in Sam Alito. He eventually replaced Sandra Day O’Connor. 

Let me repeat: the man who was irritated over being reminded that the case before him involved strip searching a 10 year old girl, wrote the draft opinion we are now seeing that says Roe was “egregiously wrong from the start,” and that also quotes approvingly from a 17th century English jurist who had two women executed for witchcraft, wrote that it isn’t rape if a husband forces himself on his wife, and believed capital punishment should extend to kids as young as 14.

Strip search a 10 year old girl…what’s your problem with that…why do you keep bringing that up..?

If all this resurfaces now, in light of Alito’s words in the leaked draft, expect the same chorus now vilifying anyone who objects to DeSantis’ Don’t Say Gay law as “groomers” and pedophiles to rush to excuse Alito’s peevish bewilderment as to why, in the context of police abusing their power, it might matter that a 10 year old girl was strip searched. Save Our Children…from anyone who might give a damn about their welfare, and the future of the human race.

During his confirmation hearings in 2005, it was reported that Alito’s wife broke down in tears over how mean some senators were to her husband. I did a cartoon

 

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