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Strip-Search Case Reflects Death of American Privacy

April 9 (Bloomberg) -- To be the swing voter, you have to be willing to swing. In the last three weeks, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has shown how it’s done.

First he wrote the majority opinion in a landmark 5-4 case establishing a constitutional right to an adequate lawyer in plea-bargaining negotiations. Liberals were enthused. Yet in his tough questioning during the Obamacare arguments, he shook up the conventional wisdom that mandatory coverage would be upheld comfortably. Liberals were not enthused. Then, as a coda, he wrote the majority opinion in a 5-4 case allowing jails to strip-search anyone being put into the general prison population -- even without suspicion, and even after the most trivial misdemeanor arrest. The same liberals who loved him in March are prepared to loathe him in April.