DOJ Threat: We Touch Your Privates or You Don't Fly
by TexasGOPVote on May 25, 2011 at 8:44 AM
The following came in from State Representative David Simpson (HD-7):
Yesterday, Tuesday the 24th, the Texas legislature was visited by federal agents from the TSA and the Dept. of Justice to lobby against HB 1937, my bill to stop the TSA from groping travelers without probable cause.
They delivered a letter from a US District Attorney that threatened to shut down Texas flights, if we didn't submit to the invasive pat-downs for which they have become so famous.
Naturally, Texans didn't take to well to being threatened in that manner.
Read the press release with statements on the DOJ's actions below.
(Austin) – In a brazen show of disregard for the dignity and the constitutional rights of American citizens, the Department of Justice (DOJ) threatened on Tuesday to cancel flights from Texas airports if the Texas Legislature enacts HB 1937 into law.
HB 1937, a bill to stop the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) from employing invasive pat-downs of travelers‘ private parts unless there is probable cause, has garnered broad support in Texas. 94 House members from both parties coauthored the bill, and the Senate has registered both a Republican and a Democrat as sponsors. The bill passed unanimously at all three stages so far—out of the relevant House committee, on both House floor votes, and again out of the relevant Senate committee. With the bill scheduled for a Senate floor vote, the DOJ issued an ultimatum to the leadership of the Texas legislature.
Either Texas backs off and continues to let government employees fondle innocent women, children and men as a condition of travel, or the TSA will cancel Texas flights. The Federal Government showed its willingness to bully the State of Texas if attempts to protect passengers from being forced to give up constitutional rights are not dropped.
The DOJ attempted to justify their action by an appeal to the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution and by claiming that the bill ―would conflict directly with federal law. However, HB 1937 already grants a defense to prosecution for an offense that the actor performed pursuant to and consistent with an explicit and applicable grant of federal authority that is consistent with the United States Constitution.
"The bill clearly states that an agent is exempt from prosecution as long as a constitutionally sanctioned federal law directs them to perform the invasive, indecent groping searches—including touching breasts, sexual organs and buttocks," noted State Representative David Simpson (R-Longview), the bill"s author.
"Instead of threatening to shut down flights in Texas, why doesn‘t the TSA just show us their statutory authority to grope or ogle our private parts?" asked Simpson.
"All that HB 1937 does is require that the TSA abide by the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution, Simpson continued. ―We aren't even prohibiting the pat-downs, per se. We're just saying you can‘t go straight to third base. You have to have a reason—you have to have probable cause—before groping someone's sexual organs."
Simpson concluded, "Someone must make a stand against the atrocities of our government agents. 'As Reagan said, If not us, who? And if not now, when?'"