Today’s court includes two former prosecutors (Justices Sotomayor and Samuel A. Alito Jr.) and no former defense lawyers. What difference does that make? In The Washington Post, Radley Balko has argued that the court has a “massive blind spot” when it comes to abuses by the police and prosecutors. Sherrilyn Ifill, the president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc., wrote a 2012 article in The Nation headlined “A Court Out of Touch” and points to Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders, a 2012 case in which the court decided 5 to 4 that someone who has been arrested can be strip-searched in jail without reasonable suspicion — in other words, even if they presented no threat.
“When you think about the increased likelihood that African-Americans will be stopped and arrested, it’s fairly astonishing that a perfectly innocent person who has been arrested, and has made no indication that he is a threat, can be strip searched,” Ms. Ifill told me. “What Marshall did on the bench, when the justices conference about a case, was to say, ‘Let me tell you how it happens.’”
Read the full article here.