A Strip Search of Novak’s Column Yields No Facts

In his column this morning, Novak took issue with the assertion that Alito voted to approve the strip search of a 10-year-old girl:

The ad claimed Alito, as a federal appellate judge, “even voted to approve the strip search of a 10-year-old girl.” This distorts a case where a suspected drug dealer’s daughter was searched, visibly not manually, by a female police officer in the presence of the child’s mother.

Here’s what actually happened, as described by the court:

Once inside, however, the officers found no visitors, but only John Doe’s wife, Jane, and their ten year old daughter, Mary…They were instructed to empty their pockets and lift their shirts. The female officer patted their pockets. She then told Jane and Mary Doe to drop their pants and turn around. No contraband was found.

That sounds like a strip search. And as the court makes clear, the 10-year-old girl was patted down, so Novak’s claim that the girl was only searched only “visibly not manually” isn’t true. Later in the decision, the court specifically points out that the girl was “touched by a female officer who was searching for contraband.”


Also, Novak fails to point out that the girl was not covered by the warrant obtained by the officers. That’s why the majority found “Searching Jane and Mary Doe for evidence beyond the scope of the warrant and without probable cause violated their clearly established Fourth Amendment rights.”