Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Right Not to be Groped Goes Down in Flames

I'm no fan of the right wing fanatics in the US, but I was a fan of the Texas attempt to tell the US government that they should abide by the US Constitution's 4th Amendement which prohibits:
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.
But under the "war on terror" (a war which by very definition can never end because there will always be some "terrorist" somewhere), the US government has told Texas it can have its law or it can have its airports, but it can't have both.

From the Texas Tribune:
A threat from the federal government to shut down Texas airports or cancel flights may have killed legislation by Tea Party conservatives in the Texas Capitol to prohibit federal Transportation Security Administration agents from conducting "invasive searches."

“I don’t cave in to heavy handed threats by the federal government,” said an angry Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, the Senate sponsor of the bill, who ultimately withdrew the bill.

House Bill 1937, which was passed by the House earlier this month, would make it a misdemeanor offense for a federal security agent to “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly [touch] the anus, sexual organ, buttocks, or breast of the other person, including touching through clothing, or touching the other person in a manner that would be offensive to a reasonable person.”

Two TSA officials visited Patrick at the Capitol earlier today to discuss the legislation. They warned him that the legislation “could close down all the airports in Texas,” he said. After their departure, U.S. Attorney John E. Murphy sent a letter to Speaker of the House Joe Straus and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst saying the bill would “conflict directly with federal law” and that if it became law, “TSA would likely be required to cancel any flight or series of flights for which it could not ensure the safety of passengers and crew” until the agency could seek a court order stopping the measure from being carried out.
It looks like Texans have chosen to keep their airports while giving up their freedoms. Chalk up another victory for Al Qaeda.

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