Jon Stewart on the Supreme Court's decision to allow strip searches for any arrest

Here's Jon Stewart at his acerbic best, commenting on the Supreme Court's decision to allow strip searches for any arrest. Contains this pearl of wisdom: "[The conservatives on the court are] the 'defending personal liberty guys.' Which is weird because I'm not a constitutional scholar, but I'm willing to bet Big Government feels its biggest when it's inside your anus."

CourtCenter (via Wil Wheaton)



  1. It’s simple, really.  Conservatives only want freedom for a handful of personal interests — guns, (Christian) religion, making money, and sometimes specific kinds of hedonism (like pot smoking).  They are generally incapable of imagining what someone else dissimilar to them might want and extending that freedom to them.

    Obviously, they otherwise love an authoritarian style of government.   They like the police to have lots of power, they think the executive branch should be largely able to act unilaterally, and they think our military can basically do whatever it wants to whomever it wants.

    1. You say “interests” but I think it works better if you read it as “Conservatives only want freedom for a handful of PEOPLE.”  I think we can all figure out who those people are.*

      *(Straight White Christian Men.  & Corporations.)

  2. i don’t think this is that big of a deal. I mean they can only search people admitted into the general population of jail and it is very rare that people pulled over for minor offenses (like an illegal u turn) go to jail.

    1.  I don’t believe that’s correct.
      “Arrest” is a long way off from being admitted to the general population. The latter generally means having been tried and convicted. “Arrest” means merely being taken into custody and, in the US, one can be taken in and detained for all manner of minor charges, including traffic violations (depending on just how “law n order” the jurisdiction is).

      If you are handcuffed and taken away by the cops, you have been arrested and, according to the Supremes, a strip-search can be in your immediate future.

        1.  Nice for you to have never been arrested. 

          After they put cuffs on you, you’re going to jail, at least until you see a judge. 

          In some jails  inmates that have not yet been sentenced may be held separate from general population.  If they want to strip search you, they will just put you in general population. 

    2. What about protestors who get held briefly in jail, is that different? Otherwise, this is a significantly hostile ruling.

      1. I actually know some people who got arrested for protesting recently. I don’t think they were strip searched as the jail is very large and has multiple areas with different levels of security. Also there are multiple levels of strip searching, not all of which involve orifice probing. From what I hear, most people arrested for the low level stuff are assigned to the lower security wings and not searched as thoroughly.

        I’d go to the fundraiser for the #D12Houston arrestees tonight, but I have to work tomorrow morning. Three of those charged with felonies are scheduled to speak, and I could ask for details.  And thanks again Occupy San Francisco for your generous support with the bail money.

        This is a very troubling court decision. A ruling the other way could at least have kept in check part of the current disturbing increase in police intimidation.

    3. it is very rare that people pulled over for minor offenses (like an illegal u turn) go to jail.

      Too rare to give a crap about those people? Is there a number or percentage of affected citizens below which bodily violations are acceptable?

      1. I might be a little late to the discussion on this one, but anyway, here’s my two cents.

        People who seem to be okay with things like this, I think, are forgetting that the people enforcing and using these laws are people.  Fallible human beings.  Police officers are people with good days, bad days, terrible bosses, prejudices, homes lives that are good or bad, agendas, political views, sexual fantasies, frustrations, power trips, bleeding hearts, etc etc.  Giving these people carte blanche to violate anyone they arrest with something as humiliating as a strip search is actually pretty scary.

        This reminds me of the episode of This American Life called “Right to Remain Silent.”  It’s about a police officer who blew the whistle on his supervisors, because they adopted an “arrest first, make up charges later” policy in order for the department to meet its quota.  That’s pretty awful.  Now add on top of that.  Now it would be legal for them to strip search those people that were picked up on trumped up charges.

        This whole debacle is a huge step in the wrong direction, and it feels like a mistake that will be hard to fix.

        Here’s a link to the episode, for those that are curious.  It’s Act Two:

    4. WTF?  The U.S. have the highest Incarceration rate in the world and we’re supposed to arrests for minor offences are rare? 

    5. It’s also opening up a nice way to humiliate and molest protestors or anyone else the authorities don’t like, IMO.

    6. It’s opinions like this that enable these abuses to continue unabated. Every time I think I’ve pinpointed the moment that people will stop taking shit from the assholes (government, corporations, whomever), I find myself mistaken. I wonder what will finally do it?

  3. It’s easy to rule in favor of universal strip searches when you are pampered de-facto royalty who will never be subject to your own laws.

  4. If I was god, I’d see to it that each of the supreme court justices that voted for this was pulled over, had their ID confused with a wanted serial killer and then after some tasering, name calling and a few well aimed kicks, were released with an “everything checks out, you’re free to go”.

    1. They should just recombine back into the Democratic Republican party and be done with it.

  5. The point of the matter is that what the court is basically saying, is that if a law enforcement agency would like to violate your fourth amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizures, all they need to do is to take you to a prison whose entry requirements require rigid search and seizure protocols (because their entry requirements now trump your constitutional rights) – EGADS

    1. No, it’s saying that if a law enforcement agency would like you to give up your First and Fifth Amendment rights, they don’t have to worry about the Fourth and Eighth to do it. It’s not about searches in prison, which have always had strip searches, it’s about expanding the threat of physical violation under the authority of the state.

      1. Don’t see the First Amendment being relevant here.  The fifth is certainly  related. However, at lease in my view. the fourth is the most relevant – what the court has concluded is that the prison’s entry process supersedes your fourth amendment protections. Most folks would not conclude that a strip search is reasonable or allowable for an unpaid ticket – they would conclude it is reasonable is a condition of entering a prison. 

  6. i cant believe there’s actual debate about this. Really? I no longer find this kind of stuff funny, just terrifying. 

  7. BoingBoing should not post videos that are censored to certain locations.

    Seems against the morals of the site – and quite frankly it’s annoying too.

    1. Most media clips are blocked somewhere. It’s not that hard to get around it.

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