Texas Legislature Looks To Make TSA Groping Procedures Illegal

from the don't-mess-with-texas dept

We've discussed an attempt in New Hampshire to make TSA agents liable to be accused of sexual assault for patdowns, and now we learn that a bill is making its way through the Texas legislature that would criminalize the aggressive groping procedures, if there is no "probable cause." That choice of words is obviously quite intentional, as the idea is to refer back to the 4th Amendment. Unfortunately, courts have not found that such airport searches violate the 4th Amendment, though they've become ever more intrusive over the years.

The big question, of course, is what happens if this bill passes and becomes a law (apparently it has a large number of co-sponsors). It would create a difficult position for TSA agents in Texas, and I imagine a lawsuit would eventually be needed to resolve things. But all of that depends on whether or not the bill will ever actually pass. I could definitely see the White House putting pressure on Texas' governor to veto the bill... Still, with various states now looking to pass laws against these procedures, isn't it time the administration and the TSA reconsider these procedures?

Filed Under: groping, texas, tsa


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  1. icon
    Beta (profile), 3 May 2011 @ 9:55am

    it all makes sense in a way

    Notice that the state legislators don't say that these procedures are pointless security theater that does not significantly improve real security. They want to appeal to public outrage over TSA groping, but not lose votes by being Soft On Terrorism -- so do the federal officials.

    The feds won't ban air travel in Texas because the voters would hate them for it; the states won't denounce the body-scan and pat-down as useless, because the voters would scream in fear; the public is outraged over the videos of crying children and beauty queens, so some state politicians must jump on that wagon...

    So they attack the group with the least political power, the TSA screeners. If these bills pass, the screeners will have to risk jail time if they follow procedure... So they'll neglect procedure (as they already do in some airports). We'll have some dignity back, it won't make anybody less safe, but someday when somebody tries to bring down a plane (which will happen someday in any case) the politicians can point fingers at the "negligent" screeners.

    Wouldn't it be great to hear some courage in these debates?

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