TSA Lies About The Constitution In Defending Pat Downs

from the shocker dept

A few weeks back, we noted some plans in Texas to make the TSA patdowns illegal. We were curious as to what would happen if the bill passed. And while it has been moving forward, the TSA put out a blog post recently claiming that the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution meant that states could not regulate federal agencies:

What’s our take on the Texas House of Representatives voting to ban the current TSA pat-down? Well, the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article. VI. Clause 2) prevents states from regulating the federal government.

Well, Boing Boing points us to an analysis of that claim, which suggests it’s all kinds of wrong — and wrong in a manner that suggests the anonymous TSA blogger knows it’s wrong (i.e., the TSA is flat-out lying):

The problem here? The statement is false. Ignorance from the TSA is unlikely, so I?ll call a spade a spade. They?re lying.

The supremacy clause says nothing of the sort.

Of course, some of this may come down to interpretations of the Supremacy Clause, but it certainly appears that the TSA is stretching the definition (quite a bit) to pretend that it means no federal agency can be constrained by a state government. It seems pretty sad how frequently it appears our federal government is purposely misstating or misinterpreting the Constitution.

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Comments on “TSA Lies About The Constitution In Defending Pat Downs”

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John Doe says:

Almost got patted down today

I got patted down for refusing the naked scanner last Friday. Today, I just missed getting patted down again. Fortunately they ran me through the metal detector because the naked scanner was backed up. I have had really good luck ovoiding the 2 out of 20+ lines in Atlanta that have the scanners. In case you are interested, avoid lines 12 adn 14.

I was really get pissed about possibly going through the trouble of refusing the scan and then being groped. I swear, if I didnt’ have to fly for my job it is doubtful I would fly at all.

Jeremy says:

Re: Re:

haha.. what a retarded comment. If it’s illegal in all states, which I am pretty sure it is, then no one, including a federal employee could break the law. The problem on this site is a bunch of tech nerds shouldn’t be trying to talk about law.. It really is making a lot of you sound like idiots.

Fisher1949 (profile) says:


TSA claims that they conduct respectful pat downs and do not touch genitals or the anus. Why would they have any objection to the Texas legislation which only prohibits what TSA claims doesn’t happen?

Their arrogance is seemingly boundless and have managed to intimidate Congress and escalate their assault on travelers and the Constitution.

In the last five months there have been 25 screeners arrested, 23 security failures, 4,000+ groping complaints and dozens of lawsuits. Yet TSA hasn’t stopped one terrorist incident in nine years.

Fortunately some people and lawmakers are beginning to realize that they are being misled by TSA’s paranoia.

sumquy (profile) says:

i am a texan and i would love to count coup on my state being the one to oppose the tyranny of the evil feds and their imperiousness.
sadly, honesty compels me to tell you that this whole thing is being misconstrued. texas politicians don’t care about the civil rights of texas citizens any more than the rest of the states. no, no, no. this is about us giving the feds the finger. resentment of those damn yankees stems all the way back to the war of northern aggression, and you can actually be decertified as a texas citizen if you don’t scorn the revenooers at every opportunity. (this law hasn’t actually been enforced in many years due to its ambiguity and questions about its enforceability , but does remain on the books).
in sum, its not principle, it’s just ornerynous.

Gene Cavanaugh (profile) says:

TSA patdowns and the Constitution

The beauty of not knowing anything about the law is that you can interpret the Constitution any way you want. It is like the ignorant who “tell us” what the Bible and Quran say.
The Interstate Commerce Clause of the Constitution empowers the Federal Government over the States in matters relating to commerce between the States (and that is emphatically here). While this could be taken to the Supreme Court (the worst one ever), and, for the first time ever in our history, there is doubt about what those people would decide, there really isn’t an issue. Texas does not have that right.

TheSteelGeneral (profile) says:

You are all talking a load of BS

on matters of national security, the Federal Government DOES TOO have that right, are you all crazy? Do you prefer to be blown up or something? the fact that you all are ignorant about what the constitution says, and how many would-be bombers the TSA caught does NOT mean you’re entitled to your own set of facts.

The best thing about this issue that 90% of people screaming about this, were cheering the Patriot Act and still support that.
A govt agent spying on you could detect a whole lot of stuff, like creditcard data, where you keep your cash and who your wife is screwing besides you.
But you’re okay with that, and you take the chance of being blown up in an airplane for granted. That makes no sense. Then again, it’s Texans doing most of the yelling …

if you’re okay with the govt spying on you, you’re okay with the govt patting you down. Oh wait ….. is it because this time a black dude “ordered them to do that”. Do you feel violated cos Obama’s president? Well, feel violated no more, cos it was buddy D0bya who started all of this.

TheSteelGeneral (profile) says:

Re: Re: You are all talking a load of BS

TSA is NOT lying. There is such a thing as a Supremacy Clause (I love it when supreme-racists get struck down by something that’s called the Supremacy Clause!!)
which says that Federal law is more important than local Podunkakadunk law, especially where it concerns INTERSTATE COMMERCE, and tiny things like oh say … preventing Americans getting blown up!
What, do you think this some game? That some imaginary Washington bureacrat is sitting in his office thinking every day: “Now, how can I Fcuk up the lives of Americans today?” Ooops sorry, perhaps you think he should think “Real” Americans?

Even if you think there’s some liberal elitist bureaucrat who came up via a scholarship in Washington (how anyone can study on a scholarship and still be an elitist is beyond me, but I know it makes perfect sense to your feverish paranoid little minds) doing this “just to get back at us”, perhaps you should think about WHY he might wanna “get back” at you. Is it because “real” Americans were racist against him and people like him? Is it because, after enslaving people like for 300 years, you’ve started lynching them, denying them homes, loans and education?
Maybe. I mean, who could resent all that? Who could be so ungrateful not to be thankful for 300 years of slavery?

The larger issue is of course, the sudden discovery of civil liberties by the ReichWing. They had no problems with the Patriot Act, but against the TSA? All of a sudden THEY want civil liberties, “probable cause”, to the point that they don’t mind the chance of being blown to pieces in the air?
Bunch of hypocrites.

Oh wait. Of course its not about them wanting civil liberties. It’s about them telling the Feds to go fcuk themselves. Well, I got news for you, although it’s very old (but your kind doesn’t read newspapers, so…)

This matter has been already settled in the 19th century!!

TSA outranks whatever the Texas legislature comes up with regarding interstate affairs and security.

And if the Feds can’t do their jobs, that’s because Repukes have bled the Federal Govt dry. Up to the point where it’s now a failed state.
This is America first, then Texas. States come second. If it’s the other way round, you either start a war, again! or move to Europe. … Oh wait … they have REAL governments, not the bought and paid for by Big Corp kind we have here.

TheSteelGeneral (profile) says:

Re: Re: You are all talking a load of BS

Very nice that you’re against both, but you seem to be drinking the Kool-aid of insane anti-governmentism (btw, where did you all get this idea that goverment is inherently bad? that taxes are bad? http://www.governmentisgood.com/articles.php?aid=7&p=4)

Or is it the Kool-aid of fake-libertarian fantasy “Independents”? Who claims to be neutral is just a too much of a coward to choose one or the other, it’s as simple as that.

The retreat of the socially progressive, moderate rightwingers into some fantasy-“both sides are equally bad”-land is perhaps understandable, but should be rejected with full force.
We are BETTER people than rightwingers, and they know it. They are the ones who are lying through their teeth, and they know it.
They’re being hypocrites about their Family Values and they know it. They all vote for prostitute lovers like Vitter, cheaters like McCain, Gingrich and Giuliani.
They have an insane anti-government rhetoric, which says: Don’t tax, but spend MORE on guns killing brown people.
Don’t tax, but just export our jobs overseas.

So, don’t come to me with some type of “both equally bad” message, cos it’s a load of BS.

Chris Rhodes (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: You are all talking a load of BS

you seem to be drinking the Kool-aid of insane anti-governmentism

Disliking the Patriot Act makes one insanely anti-government?

Who claims to be neutral is just a too much of a coward to choose one or the other, it’s as simple as that.

I’m not neutral. I have a very specific set of beliefs, and neither of the two parties offers me anything to cheer for. In fact, I’d go so far as to say both parties are exactly the same. The stuff Democrats yelled about while Bush was in office are the same things they approve of now that Obama is the chosen puppet, and the stuff the Republicans were so proud of during the Bush administration are now the things they claim to hate about Obama. Republicans were all for Romney’s disastrous healthcare plans until Obama suggested they take it countrywide, then suddenly they changed their tune. Democrats were all about transparency in government until Obama decided to be more secretive that Bush.

It’s all bullshit “Go team!” politics with not an ounce of intellectual honesty in it.

TheSteelGeneral (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 You are all talking a load of BS

Sorry, I can’t help you. If your anti-governmentism makes you so blind that you can’t see the difference between Obama and Bush, you’re beyond repair.

Really, again:
don’t come to me with some type of “both equally bad” message, cos it’s a load of BS.

Time and again, Democrats and Obama take measures that aim to strenghten the middle class and yes, even the poor! I know, helping the poor via taxes it’s really sacrilegous in Teabaggers eyes, but that’s why they’re teabaggers.

Look at the health care measures alone, the fact that he saved the financial system.

Anyone who claims Obama is “just as bad” is either lying, stupid, a troll or wilfully ignorant. Probably all of the above.

TheSteelGeneral (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 You are all talking a load of BS

and pray do tell us what precise flavor of Ron Paulism you prefer? is it the Good Ol’ racist Ron Paul? The anti-abortion Ron Paul? or the new and Improved-its-not Randy Paulism?

Oh sorry, you’re not a fan? so called libertarian perhaps? Please do tell, the suspense is killing … sorry, boring me to death.

Things that Obama does differently:
Established the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. ref
Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010. ref, ref
Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act.
Established new offshore investment policy that promotes in-sourcing.

but, feel free to yell tax-and-spend from the top of your lungs, we’ve only heard that one 11,583 times, room for more.

Civil Rights
– Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act; Instituted equal pay for women.
– Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act to include gender, sexual orientation and disability.
– The repeal of Don?t Ask Don?t Tell (DADT).
– Increased minority access to capital

The Economy Has Been Growing, The Private Sector Has Begun to Add Jobs and GDP would have been lower without the Recovery Act, Unemployment would have been higher without ARRA the STIMULUS

I know, you listen to FoKKKs and they tell you that the stimulus is actually your tax money going to poor blacks so they can live in the lap of luxury, like innercity Detroit, the lower ninth ward of New Orleans (where they aren’t living anymore, btw, cos it’s been seized to build homes for rich whites)

Jobs for Main Street Act (2010).
American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010.
Job training programs in clean technologies for displaced workers

CBO found 3.7 Million jobs created by stimulus (May 2010). http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/801-economy/99915-cbo-finds-stimulus-bill-boosted-job-growth

TheSteelGeneral (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Chris Rhodes is Stalking a load of BS

Sorry, what misleading statistic is that?

Could it be the statistic (= common sense, but measured in cold hard numbers) that tells us the gap between rich and poor in these United States is ever widening?

In the seventies, a companies President made about 75 times what Joe Sixpack made. Now, that’s a staggering 450 times.

Could be the statistic that the government funded Harvard School of Economics calculated of 45,000 (that’s FORTY FIVE THOUSAND) Americans dying each year because of not enough health care coverage. It was healthier to live in Dickensian times. Ooh wait, Harvard is NOT EVEN funded by the government but privately!

But you know:
The fact that you parrot any misleading statistic the the Heritage foundation/Teabaggers/FoKKKs puts out without critical thought does TOO do you justice … since it reveals you as the moron you are.

abc gum says:

Re: Re:

Other things the GOP is good at, this could be fun.

Defund education and complain about education
Defund NOAA and complain about weather predictions
Defund health services and complain about non healthy people
Defund research and development and complain about foreign innovation

Add military funding and complain about a lack of invading
Add tax breaks for the rich and complain about a lack of revenue

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