Nina Totenberg’s report on All Things Considered last night on the “strip search” case heard yesterday at the Supreme Court is the only news report I can find that notes that lone woman Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was on her own at one point in the hearing:
At this point in the argument, a gender difference reared its head. Justice Breyer suggested that it’s no big deal when kids strip–after all, they do it for gym class all the time. Savana Redding didn’t reveal her body beyond her underclothes, said Breyer. Justice Ginsburg, the court’s only female justice, bristled. Her eyes flashing with anger, she noted that there’s no dispute that Savannah was required to shake out her bra and the crotch of her panties. Ginsburg seemed to all but shout, “boys may like to preen in the locker room but girls, particularly teenaged girls, do not.”
The Washington Post report by Robert Barnes says that “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg seemed at times on the edge of exasperation with her all-male colleagues,” but provided no further detail. McClatchy’s article by Michael Doyle says that “Ginsburg conveyed dismay at the search’s intrusiveness,” but doesn’t report further on her views. The New York Times report, written by Adam Liptak, omits mentioning that Ginsburg was even in the room yesterday, and instead emphasizes this comment by “even the liberal” Justice Stephen Breyer:
Justice Breyer elaborated on what children put in their underwear. “In my experience when I was 8 or 10 or 12 years old, you know, we did take our clothes off once a day,” he said. “We changed for gym, O.K.? And in my experience, too, people did sometimes stick things in my underwear.”
Ha-ha! Strip-searching middle-school girls is funny! (Unless you’re a middle-school girl, but if you are, you don’t vote so we don’t care about violating your Fourth Amendment rights.) Ginsburg’s point of view won’t be shared by all women–but the point is that when gender matters in terms of a justice’s analysis of a case, having only one woman on the Supreme Court and only a few women in the news media reporting on the court means that women’s interests are hardly represented or reported at all.
I haven’t found any newspaper reports yet that share Totenberg’s explicitly gendered viewpoint. You can play too–report your findings below!
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