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tom moody

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From a Salon Premium piece today, arguing that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Kennedy should recuse himself from the case on mandatory school drug testing:

Before the court was a school district's regulation requiring drug tests of students involved in any extracurricular activity. Although there was no reason to suspect that the plaintiff, Lindsay Earls, had ever used drugs, she was called out of choir and tested -- specifically, ordered to urinate under a teacher's supervision. Earls passed, but brought suit against what she believes was an invasion of privacy and an unconstitutional search.

"Most surprising," said the New York Times, "was Justice Kennedy's implied slur on the plaintiffs." The justice imagined a school district with a "drug testing school" and a "druggie school," and told the lawyer representing the Earls family that no parent would send a child to the druggie school "except maybe your client." This was remarkable in two ways. First, it was indeed a slur: Lindsay Earls had passed the drug test, and her cause was not drugs but the Fourth Amendment. Second, the very irrationality of Kennedy's remarks, coupled with his demeanor -- the Boston Globe described him as red with emotion as he launched his "bitter verbal attack" -- betrayed an uncontainable anger toward a litigant that is entirely absent from Supreme Court arguments on even the most heinous murder cases.

Evidently Kennedy's fixated on the perceived moral failings of high school students right now. According to a recent article on, he was disappointed by the "lack of moral outrage" of some Muslim students following the 9/11 attacks on the United States. He also disliked hearing that other kids (presumably non-Muslim) thought the 9/11 attacks were payback for some very bad U.S. policies abroad. Therefore, he's created an American Bar Association-sponsored program, in partnership with First Lady Laura Bush (so much for separation of powers), to teach kids about "fundamental values and universal moral precepts." The program sends lawyers and judges to high schools to talk about "core democratic values" in light of the terrorist attacks.

Yet if there are high school students who can see the connection between 9/11 and US support of oppressive regimes abroad, thankfully, there will be high school students who can recognize a pompous, belligerent, propagandizing hypocrite when they see one. Should they should listen to a member of the 5-person Supreme Court majority that installed a president by judicial fiat on the subject of "democracy"? Should they take the advice of a man who insults kids--in a red, slobbering rage--when they actually stand up for their rights? Perhaps, when he comes to their schools, they'll stand up again and say that maybe their "problem" isn't so much a lack of moral values as disagreement with his.

- tom moody 4-22-2002 6:33 pm [link] [11 comments]