Educating Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel as to the language of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution can be hazardous to your freedom; even if done peacefully but while being subjected to the agency’s invasive airport security measures.
Aaron Tobey, a student at the University of Cincinnati, learned this the hard way as he was attempting to depart from Richmond (VA) International Airport for a family funeral last December 30th.
Tobey already had passed through the metal detector at the TSA security check point, but was directed by an officer to one of the naked full-body scanners. Just before he was to be scanned, Tobey protested his treatment by removing his pants and shirt (thankfully, leaving his boxers on), and revealing a writing on his chest, “Amendment 4: The right of the people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated.”
For thus displaying a sentence appearing in our country’s Constitution, Tobey was deemed to be a “security risk.” He then was detained by TSA officers for an hour and a half, and subsequently cited for disorderly conduct; though the charge was later dropped.
Tobey now has initiated a lawsuit; alleging unlawful detention and that the government violated several of his constitutionally-protected liberties, including his rights to free speech and to be free from unreasonable searches.
Judge Henry Hudson heard arguments in the case on Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The federal government, of course, is seeking to have Tobey’s suit dismissed; contending the TSA officers named in the suit were just doing their jobs.
While the TSA employees may indeed have been doing as they were directed by their bosses, this young man was – in his own way – doing nothing more than simply standing up for the Bill of Rights. While some TSA employees may not realize it, the Fourth Amendment in fact is a part of the Bill of Rights, which in turn is an integral part of the very same Constitution to which every TSA employee pledges support as a condition of employment. However, when a law-abiding citizen points this fact out to those very employees, he is detained and arrested. What’s wrong with this picture?
By Bob Barr – The Barr Code