Is TSA Security Unconstitutional?

A vocal minority of Americans are making a big deal about the new TSA security policies.  Many of the outraged Obama bashers claim the pat-downs violate our 4th amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.  These are the same Obama bashers who railed against the administration after the underwear bomber incident for not doing enough to protect the traveling public from terrorist threats.   Many of them simply want the TSA to institute a policy of racial profiling, one that would subject all non-white travelers, particularly anyone who appears to be of the Muslim faith, to the invasive procedures.  What they forget is that racial profiling  violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.   They might come back and say that it should only apply to non-citizens, but I would point out that this runs counter to several  anti-discriminatory international treaties to which the U.S. belongs.

Most do not object to their bags going through an x-ray machine, walking through a metal detector and being subjected to a wand, if the metal detector sounds.  Nor do people seem to mind having their behavior scrutinized by TSA agents.  Though inconvenient, folks don’t seem to mind having their bags checked for prohibited items such as razor blades, knives, lighter fluid, and other suspicious liquids.   With all of the unsafe items confiscated, I think it is clear that the skies are safer because of the tighter security.  If the pat-down and full-body scans make traveling safer by preventing an armed terrorist from boarding a airliner, the policy is a no-brainer.   For those who don’t want to be checked, scanned and scrutinized, please drive or don’t travel at all.  For frequent business flyers who object to airport security measures, try

In the end, it is the government’s responsibility to protect its citizens.  This is not my opinion, but straight from the Preamble to the Constitution.  Pay particular attention to the highlighted parts.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

So how could TSA security be just and constitutional?  With regard to justice, it is only fair and prudent and constitutional that everybody go through the same basic procedures.   Profiling violates the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment.  Do scans and checks violate our 4th amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure?  Not if there is a reasonable chance that a terrorist could strike.  If one person intent on causing harm to all slips through security undetected, domestic tranquility is disturbed and the government could be accused of not providing for the common defense and general welfare of the public.  And to maintain liberty, we have to make some sacrifices.   There is no liberty in a lawless, unregulated society.

Another 5-4 Ruling in Favor of Handguns

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that a law banning handguns in Chicago is unconstitutional.  Homeowners in McDonald v. Chicago want to be able to keep a handgun in their homes as a means of self-defense and assert this as a right guaranteed under the second amendment and protected or incorporated by the Fourteenth Amendment.   The ban originally enacted 28 years ago has done little to control gun violence in the windy city.  People do not feel safe and want to pack some compact household heat.

The second amendment says nothing about the right of an individual to use a handgun for self-defense.  Nor does it imply that an individual has the right to pack any heat at all.  Rather, it gives the states the right to form a well-regulated militia to protect its citizens.  We can see this in state defense forces and in modern times our local and state police forces.  Here is the actual text:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Lifting the ban means more handguns will be in circulation in ChiTown which in my view makes the city even more dangerous.  If I were a Chicagoan, I would challenge the ruling on the basis that allowing and thus encouraging people to possess concealed weapons is a threat to life, liberty and property.

It is important to note that the ban was never a ban on arms.  Folks in Chicago have always been able to keep a registered shotgun or rifle in the house, as long as it is out of the reach of a minor.

A firearm is not the only means of self-protection.  A good alarm system can bring piece of mind and security.  911 works too, and with a cellphone, you can remain in contact with the authorities.  A text message can quietly provide details.  Record it.  Put up a sign saying house under constant video surveillance.  A fearful granny could sleep alongside an ax.  An aluminum baseball bat packs a punch.  And one of the best deterrents I know is a barking dog.

I do not adhere to a strict interpretation of the constitution based on what the founders were thinking.  I believe the constitution should evolve and be applied reasonably to address modern societal issues.   I think law abiding adults should have a right to own a registered gun for lawful purposes.  But I also believe the states and municipalities have a fundamental obligation to try local solutions to keep their citizens safe.  I don’t believe a federal ruling should trump a local approach to a unique urban problem.  It is true that gun violence is on the rise in Chicago, but with this SCOTUS ruling which surely delights members of the NRA, the powerful gun lobby, I expect gun violence to skyrocket.