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 gotomeeting.com.

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.

Alternatives to the scan and pat down

Full Body Scan

Let’s see, the TSA has employed those invasive pat-downs and the full body scan, causing outrage among some annoyed travelers.  I don’t fly much, so the issue doesn’t affect me personally.  And when I fly next, frankly, I don’t care what they do.  I have nothing to hide.  And I believe we do have to sacrifice a little privacy for security.  But for those who wish to opt out of both the scan and the pat down, here are a few alternative options:  a German Shepard bomb sniffing dog.  I imagine the canine snout is just as accurate as the X-ray.  Or a cat – the Silver Tabby, Calico and Manx breeds are amazingly talented at detecting the nervous and allergic among us. I’m a cat person myself.  The lie detector test and truth serum are other options for principled travelers who are in no rush to arrive at their destination.  Maybe the best alternative to traditional airline travel is the flying car, soon to be available at a rental car agency near you.