Homeland Security Says They Could Strip Search Every Airline Passenger If They Wanted To
from the what-fourth-amendment? dept
Michael Scott points us to Bob Barr highlighting how Homeland Security, in its defense of airport scanners and patdowns, has said that, if it chose to do so, it could strip search every airline passenger, without any 4th Amendment scrutiny. I guess it’s only out of their own kindness that they’ve chosen not to do so. Of course, this raises some pretty key Constitutional questions. If the TSA can strip search anyone with no reason at all, then does the 4th Amendment really exist? Yes, courts have said that the basic scanning of airline passengers is Constitutional, but it does not appear to have set any real limits on that scanning. And that’s part of the reason why security theater at the airports just keeps ratcheting up. But at some point, shouldn’t we step back and ask if such a scenario, in which everyone who flies is first strip searched, could possibly match with what the framers of the Constitution meant when they said:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
It’s more than a bit troubling that we keep seeing more and more chipping away at the Constitution, as people (including judges and politicians) make excuses about how it’s effectively “okay this time, because…” where the “because” can and will be stretched, twisted and distorted to the point that the original Constitutional keystones no longer really exist.