November 23, 2010
Constitutional Rights vs. TSA Procedures Tested
Matt Kernan recently returned to the United States from a business trip to Europe. Flying back in, he decided he did not wish to go through a backscatter X-ray machine or submit to the new TSA enhanced pat-down procedures. It took 2.5 hours, but he managed to leave the airport and go home without going through either. He has documented what happened in his blog post You Don't Need to See His Identification.
This is a pretty interesting situation because of the clear statement he said to the TSA officials:
“I am aware that it is policy, but I disagree with the policy, and I think that it is unconstitutional. As a U.S. citizen, I have the right to move freely within my country as long as I can demonstrate proof of citizenship and have demonstrated no reasonable cause to be detained.”
November 14, 2010
TSA Rules in Review?
I'm very interested in following the situation that seems to be unfolding regarding one traveler's incident with the TSA at SAN, where he is potentially facing a civil suit and/or $10,000 fine. Apparently, the current rules regarding flying in the United States allows for legal punishment against any travelers who do not abide with the security regulations once entering the screening line. This makes sense on the surface of things, but it also means deciding to forfeit your flight does not allow you to escape penalty. It also means civil disobedience in protest over the latest security measures carries a stiff penalty.
At the crux of things is a question of whether or not the new backscatter and "enhanced pat-down" procedures are a violation of civil rights. One side argues that these measures are necessary for safety purposes. The other side argues they are a violation of civil rights and the fourth amendment which protects against unreasonable search and seizure. This is the same reason law enforcement officers need to establish reasonable suspicion (which can be used to obtain a warrant) before engaging in searches. Failure to do so allows any evidence obtained through an illegal search to be thrown out of court.
Anyway, apparently local news has picked up this person's story. I am looking forward to how this plays out.
November 7, 2010
Eric Cantor is running a voting program called YouCut, and is soliciting advice for spending cuts, "to defeat the permissive culture of runaway spending in Congress."
I'm a little suspicious of their weekly "winners" of cuts. Apparently, you only have a few choices each week. You cannot vote to not cut a program. And the voting is by text message. This means, if 1 million people don't want to cut something, but one person does, that suggestion could be the week's winner.
The way the cuts are worded is fairly biased as well. And it doesn't matter what the impact of the cut may have been, voting against it is always used to negatively label that congressman.