This from the Washington Post, photo by M. Spencer Green, AP:
Don't look to the Supreme Court to set school rules, only to clarify them when officials have abdicated that responsibility, Chief Justice John Roberts said Saturday.
At a judicial conference, Roberts was asked how school administrators should interpret seemingly conflicting messages from the court in two recent decisions, including one Thursday that said Arizona officials conducted an unconstitutional strip-search of a teenage girl. In 2007, the justices sided with an Alaska high school principal, ruling that administrators could restrict student speech if it appears to advocate illegal drug use.
Roberts told the audience there was no conflict in the court's rulings, just clarity intended to deal with narrow issues that surface from government actions.
"You can't expect to get a whole list of regulations from the Supreme Court. That would be bad," Roberts said. "We wouldn't do a good job at it."
In the Arizona case, the high court said school officials violated Savana Redding's rights when they strip-searched her for prescription-strength ibuprofen. The court said educators cannot force children to remove their clothing unless student safety is at risk.
Roberts said administrators should take comfort in the 8-1 ruling, which also found that officials could not be held financially liable when carrying out school policy.
"We recognized that they didn't have very clear guidance," Roberts said. "We laid down a rule about what they can and can't do, but we said they don't have to fork over damages from their own personal funds if they guess wrong." ...