Apparently Stripping Nude To Protest TSA Search Is Protected By The First Amendment

from the in-oregon-at-least dept

A few months ago, you may have heard about John Brennan, who was going through Portland International Airport, and felt that the TSA screening procedures were the equivalent of harassing him. In response, to protest, he stripped naked... and was promptly arrested for disorderly conduct and indecent exposure. However, a court has now acquitted Brennan by saying that the stripping was an act of public protest, and thus protected by the First Amendment. The judge pointed out that there's already state precedent in Oregon that anti-nudity laws "do not apply in cases of protest."
"It is the speech itself that the state is seeking to punish, and that it cannot do," Circuit Judge David Rees said.
The DA who prosecuted the case is complaining that now anyone arrested for indecent exposure can just claim that it's a protest.
Deputy District Attorney Joel Petersen argued that Brennan only spoke of a protest minutes later. Petersen urged the judge to recognize that distinction, "otherwise any other person who is ever naked will be able to state after the fact" that it was done in protest.
Of course, this now raises the troubling (or appealing, depending on your nature) idea that stripping at the front of the TSA line may become more popular. That said, if you're now... er... itching to disrobe in front of the TSA, it's worth noting that this ruling is specific to Oregon, and who knows how other states might deal with the same issue.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 12:42pm

    Don't tase my junk, bro!

     

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    DannyB (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 12:44pm

    Just because you protest . . .

    Just because you protest doesn't mean they can't continue to harass you, arrest you, and then violate you(r rights) behind closed doors.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 12:47pm

    Is the TSA mad because it would be obvious if they groped him?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 12:49pm

    I can see this idea going viral throughout Oregon... disturbing isn't it?

     

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      Lord of the Files, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 3:32pm

      Re:

      I'm guessing you agree with Deputy District Attorney Joel Petersen. There is a flaw with his argument though. The facts would have to support those making such claims. Yes, that pesky little thing I like to call evidence. Claiming you were stripping in protest doesn't work without it, plus I honestly don't believe everyone is going to suddenly be clamoring to get naked in public, be it in protest or otherwise. The Judge got this one right IMHO.

       

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        Niall (profile), Jul 20th, 2012 @ 4:55am

        Re: Re:

        I suspect that this defence won't work for wandering around the street naked, but anyone stripping off at a TSA checkpoint could be reasonably assumed to be making a protest, especially once this is known. This is particularly appropriate as a protesting method as it is in direct relation to the unwarranted actions by the state, i.e. to sexually assault you or make illegal porn of you.

         

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        Niall (profile), Jul 20th, 2012 @ 4:56am

        Re: Re:

        Actually, now I think about it, a mass nude protest would certainly attract some attention and hopefully embarrasment to the TSA in Oregon...

         

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    Ninja (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 12:51pm

    I do hope more ppl start protesting like this. Mental note: be sure to avoid looking at passengers undergoing TSA screening specially in Oregon. Unless the passenger is a hot girl.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 12:53pm

      Re:

      You must of missed the ows "i can't afford a shirt" girls.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 1:10pm

        Re: Re:

        I don't know What those girls were protesting that forced them to go topless, but I wholeheartedly support it

         

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        •  
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          Ninja (profile), Jul 20th, 2012 @ 5:22am

          Re: Re: Re:

          +1

          I didn't miss all the free naked girls. I try to follow those stuff (OWS, 15M etc) on Twitter (though I don't always succeed) and Twitter has become the best source of amateur erotica ever.

          They can buy tshirts alright but I'm all for not using if not necessary ;D

           

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    identicon
    MrWilson, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 12:52pm

    "The DA who prosecuted the case is complaining that now anyone arrested for indecent exposure can just claim that it's a protest."

    That's silly. Brennan stripped during what many Americans feel is an insulting and degrading security theater spectacle. If someone is just randomly running around naked and gets arrested for indecent exposure, what treatment prior to them stripping could they point at to say they were protesting? Brennan had a reasonable context for his claim of protest. Other such accused people might not depending on their circumstances.

    The DA just doesn't want legitimate protesters (even spontaneous ones) from being able to fight charges meant to keep the airport chattel in line.

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 1:26pm

      Re:

      What's even sillier is that in Oregon, public nudity is not against the law unless it is salacious in nature. So you can walk around naked, but not if you are masturbating.

      An "indecent exposure" charge in Oregon means a lot more than that you were naked, and it makes the DA's concern nothing more than pure bullshit.

       

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        John Fenderson (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 1:32pm

        Re: Re:

        And now that I think of it, why is this a state issue at all? The reason that we're always given for why we are subject to things which would be unconstitutional anywhere else is that an airport is not really "in the country", let alone the state.

         

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        Ninja (profile), Jul 20th, 2012 @ 5:23am

        Re: Re:

        Oregon must be a great place to live.

         

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          John Fenderson (profile), Jul 20th, 2012 @ 9:48am

          Re: Re: Re:

          It absolutely is!

          But, despite the law, you don't see a lot of people walking around naked even when it isn't wet & chilly outside. We do have quite a few nude beaches and swimming holes, though, and some festivals and gatherings offer a nice view.

           

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      Torg (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 1:53pm

      Re:

      "If someone is just randomly running around naked and gets arrested for indecent exposure, what treatment prior to them stripping could they point at to say they were protesting?"

      I've often considered doing just that in protest of public indecency laws. If I'm ever in Oregon I now know the first thing I need to do.

       

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    silverscarcat (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 12:53pm

    The last time I went outside without a shirt on, Animal Control picked me up, mistaking me for a runaway bear.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 1:28pm

      Re:

      On the bright side be thankful it was not the police thinking you were pedobear.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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      LDoBe (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 1:51pm

      Re:

      Didja get some sweet, sweet tranquilizer? (ref: venture bros.)

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 2:08pm

        Made me think of this from Old School

        Peppers: Hey, hey. Careful with that. That's the most powerful tranq gun on the market. Got her in Mexico.
        Frank: Cool.
        Peppers: Yeah, it is cool. They say it can puncture the skin of a rhino from...
        [Frank shoots himself in the neck with the dart]
        Peppers: YES! That's awesome!
        Frank: What?
        Peppers: You just took one in the jugular, man.
        Frank: What? I did.
        [feeling his neck]
        Peppers: YES!
        Frank: Oh, my God. Is this bad? Is this bad?
        Peppers: You better pull that shit out, man. That shit is not cool.
        Frank: Wait. What? Pull what out?
        Peppers: You got a fucking dart in your neck, man.
        Frank: [laughing] You're... you're crazy, man. I like you, but you're crazy.

         

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 2:00pm

      Re:

      Be glad they thought you was a bear not a dog without a dog license. They take bears to the woods and release them. They take dogs to the pound and gas them.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 3:37pm

      Re:

      You were a bear bear!

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 12:54pm

    Everyone show up to the airport in oregon naked tomorrow, flash mob style!

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 1:01pm

    Is it OK to knock one out at the TSA search?

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 1:15pm

    What?

    So wait, the DA is trying to claim that the guy 'protesting by stripping' was an excuse he used after the fact to cover what he did... what possible other reason does he think could have been responsible for that particular action, at that particular time?

     

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      GMacGuffin (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 1:19pm

      Re: What?

      An article I read on the DA's protest said that the Court responded in effect: "Dude, context." It not be difficult to determine in context why a person was running around nekked.

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2012 @ 10:42am

        Re: Re: What?

        I so want to read that transcript.

        "What does mine say?"
        "Dude! What does mine say?"
        Sweet! What does mine say?"

         

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    GMacGuffin (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 1:16pm

    Just in time!

    I'm flying to Portland next week. On my way out they better leave my skinny white arse alone or they get to see it...

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 1:21pm

    "otherwise any other person who is ever naked will be able to state after the fact" that it was done in protest.


    They're protesting anti-nudity laws, obviously.

    (side note: re-reading the "ever naked" part makes me wonder if this particular DA showers with his clothes on)

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 1:21pm

    "otherwise any other person who is ever naked will be able to state after the fact" that it was done in protest.


    They're protesting anti-nudity laws, obviously.

    (side note: re-reading the "ever naked" part makes me wonder if this particular DA showers with his clothes on)

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 1:25pm

    The cat is out of the bag.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 1:29pm

    when a person is told to strip by TSA agents so a search can be performed it's ok, but to preempt the 'order to strip' it's not ok? TSA agents need to make their minds up. either they want people to be helpful, or they dont!

     

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    Machin Shin (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 1:29pm

    Really a pity how hard it is to organize large scale protests. If everyone who was insulted by the TSA would all protest the same day then we might get a change, but most people would be too worried about getting to their place on time and so on.

    Just think about it though if everyone who went to an airport carried a pocket knife on them one day. TSA end up having to check everyone and finding a knife on almost everyone they check. The system would crash and they could not handle it.

    The whole thing is just stupid these days. There is no way in hell anyone is going to hijack a plane anymore. I don't care if you have an assault rifle, the other passengers will kill you if you stand up and say your taking the plane.

     

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      Mason Wheeler (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 1:54pm

      Re:

      The whole thing is just stupid these days. There is no way in hell anyone is going to hijack a plane anymore. I don't care if you have an assault rifle, the other passengers will kill you if you stand up and say your taking the plane.


      This. I've been saying this since 9/12/01. 9/11 was a zero-day exploit, a hack that demonstrates the vulnerability of the system in the act of using it. It's something that can never happen again (as long as we remember it) and being afraid of terrorists hijacking airplanes anymore is ridiculous.

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 1:55pm

      Re:

      Hell its why i switched to a Metal Breifcase.... makes it easy (and quick) to play wack the mole on the idiot that says they are taking the plane...

       

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    That One Guy (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 1:35pm

    Not the route I wouldn't gone

    I always figured a good 'get out of grope' tactic would be to inform them that as soon as they start the feel-up, that you'd start groaning, loudly, to 'show your appreciation'. After all, if you're going to be humiliated, it's only fair they get something out of the deal too.

     

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      That One Guy (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 1:37pm

      Re: Not the route I wouldn't gone

      *I would've gone

      Bloody typos...

       

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      Sad Mac, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 4:16pm

      Re: Not the route I wouldn't gone

      "I always figured a good 'get out of grope' tactic would be to inform them that as soon as they start the feel-up, that you'd start groaning, loudly, to 'show your appreciation'. After all, if you're going to be humiliated, it's only fair they get something out of the deal too."

      LOL and LMAO. Of course, I hope you realize that you may have found the biggest loophole there is that would get around both the public nudity laws and indecency laws in most states :-)

       

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    Beech, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 1:37pm

    Maaaan, I'm going to go to Oregon now and protest everything!

     

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    JesseJ, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 1:49pm

    Lady Godiva

    As far as I can tell, this trend got started in England in about the year 1200 . . . using nudity as a form of protesting tyrrany. Hmmm . . . still works. Who would hav thought?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 2:18pm

    Not like it wasn't provoked...

    He'd been through the scanner AND had a patdown... and THEN they were pulling him aside. It's not until that point that he did his "disrobing" protest. Effectively saying, "Hey, now where am I hiding a bomb?!?!" On the issue of the "public nudity"... Oregon is an exceedingly liberal state that tends to favor freedoms. *shrug*

     

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    Lorpius Prime (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 3:33pm

    A quibble with the title.

    The First Amendment doesn't operate differently in Oregon than in the rest of the States. My understanding of this case is that this gentleman's stripping was not forbidden by Oregon's specific statues on nudity, not because it was protected First Amendment speech.

     

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    Pangolin (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 3:39pm

    Legal....

    In OREGON. Be careful in other states.

     

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    Rekrul, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 3:46pm

    He's lucky the state's laws on nudity are so relaxed. In many states, he'd now be a registered sex offender.

     

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    Wally (yes I was in Vegas my last few writings no (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 3:48pm

    Searches

    I actually like this article because I had to go through the scanner at Columbus International Airport. My poor mother had to get pulled aside. (I took my parents to go see the North Rim of The Grand Canyon, Hiked in Bryce Canyon, and drove through Zion National Park....then hit the Vegas strip to see Circ Du Solé). My poor mother set off the alarm because of her knee replacement. The one thing that pissed me off the most was that no matter how many times we told the agent on duty what it was, the agent demanded a "random" strip search. I raised enough ruckous about her knee that the agent's supervisor came out and asked for a female assist on a simple frisk.

    Now that I have the story, I honestly have no problem being scanned. But man alive it's funny (and awesome) that someone finally got away with stripping down in protest :-)

    If any of you have been scanned, let me reassure you the only level of exposure is the radiation of a normal x-ray or MRI scan. The outline of your body isn't very visible. Don't get me wrong, I still hate being scanned like that, I've just gotten too used to it. Those 3d images that the scanners produced were a-kin to the public notification of the F-117 Stealth Bomber. It wasn't real and the press could not show you the x-ray resolution for the scanners due to matters of national security.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 5:28pm

    Naked Oregon

     

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    identicon
    eu, Jul 20th, 2012 @ 10:03am

    When do you americans start rebeling against the system if you are so against it?

     

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      Wally (profile), Jul 21st, 2012 @ 8:58pm

      Re:

      Not sure, but I don't think it is the system entirely at fault, it is mostly the people that currently run the place (that represent the people of the United States) that need flushed out or irradiated from office.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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