In a dissenting opinion, Justice Breyer wrote that people have been subjected to “the humiliation of a visual strip search” after being arrested for driving with a noisy muffler, failing to use a turn signal and riding a bicycle without an audible bell. A nun was strip-searched, he wrote, after an arrest for trespassing during an antiwar demonstration (NYT).
This is an unprecedented step for the Court to take. While the decision claims to grant police more "flexibility", it also clearly opens the door to extraordinary abuse.
The Court's ruling not only tramples a basic Constitutional right, but it also opens the door for further discrimination in "predatory" race-based police practices. In The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander cites a study (also from New Jersey) which found that while "only 15% of all drivers on the New Jersey Turnpike were racial minorities...42% of all stops and 73% of all arrests were of black motorists — despite the fact that black and white motorists violated traffic laws at almost exactly the same rate" (133).