Supreme Court: Strip Searches for All, Even Minor Offenders

The Supreme Court's opinion in Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of County of Burlington has created quite a stir this week. The opinion, authored personally by Justice Anthony Kennedy with concurrences from Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, authorizes jails to conduct strip searches of all inmates, even those who are being booked for minor offenses such as traffic violations, regardless of whether or not prison authorities deem them suspicious.

Albert Florence, the plaintiff, filed his suit against the government after being arrested, subjected to a strip search, and put in prison for several days following a routine traffic stop. He was booked on charges of failure to pay a fine, a fine which he had actually paid years earlier. Yesterday I appeared for an interview on WGBH radio's
Emily Rooney Show, in which I discussed the dangerous implications of both faulty police databases and the Court's granting such expansive authority to law enforcement and prison officials.
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Terrorizing Free Speech: the case of Tarek Mehanna


Tarek Mehanna may have objectionable--even horrific--views, but that does not make him a terrorist or a criminal. Mehanna was arrested two years ago on charges of lying to federal investigators, and providing material support to terrorists. The FBI also implies that Mehanna had plans to carry out a shooting spree in the Sudbury mall, but was thwarted by his inability to obtain weapons (consider, for one moment, how easy it is to get a gun in the United States). The crux of the government's case centers on a series of videos for which Mehanna allegedly provided subtitles; the translations, the Feds say, represented material support for terrorists. 

Last night I spoke with Emily Rooney on her WGBH show about the case, arguing that, in order to live in a free and open society, we must protect speech, even the speech of those whose beliefs we find abhorrent. The video is embedded after the jump.

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Updates related to Harvey's
book Three Felonies a Day, a critical
take on the Justice Department

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