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Legitimate Complaint about TSA or Political Opportunism?

 
 
Reply Mon 23 Jan, 2012 12:37 pm
Quote:
Ron Paul bashes TSA "police state" after Sen. Rand Paul refuses patdown
( Lynn Sweet, The Chicago Sun-Times, January 23, 2012)

WASHINGTON--GOP White House hopeful Rep. Ron Paul stepped up his criticism of the Transportation Security Administration after his son, Sen. Rand Paul was not allowed on an airplane Monday after he refused to be patted down after an alarm went off when he went through a screening machine.

"The police state in this country is growing out of control. One of the ultimate embodiments of this is the TSA that gropes and grabs our children, our seniors, and our loved ones and neighbors with disabilities. The TSA does all of this while doing nothing to keep us safe," Paul said in a statement.

"That is why my 'Plan to Restore America,' in addition to cutting $1 trillion dollars in federal spending in one year, eliminates the TSA.

"We must restore the freedom and respect for liberty that once made America the greatest nation in human history. I am deeply committed to doing that as President of the United States."
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Type: Discussion • Score: 12 • Views: 5,673 • Replies: 63

 
parados
 
  5  
Reply Mon 23 Jan, 2012 12:41 pm
@wandeljw,
I think the answer is obvious..

We need to start profiling conservatives as the greatest threat to this country.
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Jan, 2012 12:44 pm
@parados,
perfect response! i agree!
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Jan, 2012 01:00 pm
@wandeljw,
Quote:
-GOP White House hopeful Rep. Ron Paul stepped up his criticism of the Transportation Security Administration after his son, Sen. Rand Paul was not allowed on an airplane Monday after he refused to be patted down after an alarm went off when he went through a screening machine.


Makes you wonder...does he object to anybody and everybody being patted down after an alarm goes off...or just his son???

Is he actually suggesting that we not screen?

Or is he suggesting that screening and pat downs are alright...as long as they are done to people who fit a profile he wants to establish?
wandeljw
 
  2  
Reply Mon 23 Jan, 2012 01:07 pm
@Frank Apisa,
The other aspect is that Rand Paul himself failed to cooperate with TSA. He expected them to change their rules on the spot to allow him to be rescreened.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  4  
Reply Mon 23 Jan, 2012 01:12 pm
@wandeljw,
I believe Sen. Paul's position is grounded in Art. I, sec. 6 of the Constitution, which states, in part:
Quote:
They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same

I think Paul makes a valid point. If the TSA (an executive department) could detain congressmen from attending congressional sessions, then the president could simply order all of his political opponents detained at airports while his supporters back in D.C. passed all of his favorite pieces of legislation. A congressman should be immune from that sort of detention while attending to official business.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Jan, 2012 01:18 pm
@joefromchicago,
Quote:
I think Paul makes a valid point. If the TSA (an executive department) could detain congressmen from attending congressional sessions, then the president could simply order all of his political opponents detained at airports while his supporters back in D.C. passed all of his favorite pieces of legislation. A congressman should be immune from that sort of detention while attending to official business.


But Joe, the other side of that equation is that a congressman exercising immunity from detention...(or a reasonable request to be patted down)...could bring down a bird.

Two sides to the story...and while I appreciate the niceties of the argument you offered, I think adjustments have to be made. The request for a pat down did not seem unreasonable...and the refusal to allow it did. At least, to me that was the case.
parados
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Jan, 2012 01:31 pm
@joefromchicago,
I don't see how Paul was going to be arrested unless he was trying to break the law.
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Mon 23 Jan, 2012 01:39 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Frank Apisa wrote:
But Joe, the other side of that equation is that a congressman exercising immunity from detention...(or a reasonable request to be patted down)...could bring down a bird.

At the courthouse building here in Cook County, everyone has to go through a metal detector -- unless you're a lawyer, like me, who buys a photo ID card from the sheriff's department, in which case all you have to do is show your card and bypass the lines. Now, does having a photo ID prevent someone like me from bringing down the courthouse? No, but there's a reasonable risk assessment going on here. I am reasonably confident that a congressman isn't going to stage a terrorist strike on an airliner, and I'm willing to take that chance to defend a constitutional principle.

Frank Apisa wrote:
Two sides to the story...and while I appreciate the niceties of the argument you offered, I think adjustments have to be made. The request for a pat down did not seem unreasonable...and the refusal to allow it did. At least, to me that was the case.

It's a separation-of-powers issue: the executive branch should not be allowed to detain a member of the legislative branch. Remember from high school civics? All the branches are equal. One branch is not the boss of the other two.
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Mon 23 Jan, 2012 01:42 pm
@parados,
parados wrote:

I don't see how Paul was going to be arrested unless he was trying to break the law.

The executive branch can't prevent a congressman from attending to legislative business and get away with it by calling it a "detention" rather than an "arrest." For legislative immunity to mean anything, it has to mean that a congressman is free from executive interference, regardless of the terminology used.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Jan, 2012 01:52 pm
@joefromchicago,
Thanks for the response, Joe. And I see your point...but as I said, I think there is a second side to the question.

I really would appreciate your comments on one part of my earlier response to you (that I think goes to that “second side”), specifically:

Quote:
The request for a pat down did not seem unreasonable...and the refusal to allow it did.


Paul passed through a scanner--as all passengers are required to do, and the scanner’s alarm sounded. Paul was asked to submit to a pat down…and refused. So he was denied permission to go on the flight.

The request for a pat down under those circumstances does not seem unreasonable (in fact, seems reasonable, even necessary)...but the refusal to allow it seems unreasonable.

I'd appreciate hearing your comments on that specific.
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Mon 23 Jan, 2012 01:58 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Well, if I were Paul, I would have raised a stink about the scanner too, but since, as you say, everyone has to go through it, Paul probably regarded it as a minimal intrusion. The pat down, though, is intrusive when viewed in a constitutional sense. It's the executive branch telling the legislative branch to submit to a frisking. As I pointed out before, the branches of government are equal -- that means the legislative branch doesn't have to do whatever the executive branch tells it. That's especially true when a congressman is being detained by the executive from attending a session of congress.
parados
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Jan, 2012 02:00 pm
@joefromchicago,
It wasn't a detention or an arrest. It was a request to comply with normal procedure. I understand how the executive branch could target Congress people but that clearly wasn't the case here. In this case it was the Congressman's decision to not comply that meant he was turned away from his flight. He wasn't arrested or detained.

Aren't arrests at airports ultimately made by local authorities?

It raises some interesting legal questions perhaps but I see it as a Congressman trying to play the "Do you know who I am?" card. Similar to Senator" widestance" Craig.
RABEL222
 
  2  
Reply Mon 23 Jan, 2012 02:18 pm
@parados,
Dident congress pass the law under which the senator was refused passage on his flight? Or is this another case of I am too important to be screwed with like some common citizen?
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Jan, 2012 02:21 pm
@parados,
parados wrote:

It wasn't a detention or an arrest. It was a request to comply with normal procedure. I understand how the executive branch could target Congress people but that clearly wasn't the case here. In this case it was the Congressman's decision to not comply that meant he was turned away from his flight. He wasn't arrested or detained.

I'm evidently not making myself clear. The TSA is an arm of the executive branch. A senator is a member of the legislative branch. In their relations with each other, they are equals. A TSA agent, then, has as much right to detain Paul as Paul has to detain that TSA agent. I can understand how normal rules apply to most citizens in everyday contexts, but then most citizens aren't members of one of the three branches of government. To put it more bluntly, normal procedures don't trump the constitution.

parados wrote:
Aren't arrests at airports ultimately made by local authorities?

I have no idea, but then local police should have even less authority over a federal congressman than a federal executive department does.

parados wrote:
It raises some interesting legal questions perhaps but I see it as a Congressman trying to play the "Do you know who I am?" card. Similar to Senator" widestance" Craig.

That's always a possibility.
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Jan, 2012 02:27 pm
@joefromchicago,
The Constitution trumps other regulations when there is a conflict or if the regulations are unreasonable. I see no conflict in treating congressmen the same way other travelers are treated. I don't see this as executive versus legislative.
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Jan, 2012 02:41 pm
In her Washington Post blog, Alexandra Petri writes:

Quote:
If a stranger is asking me to put my hands above my head, either there’s a robbery going on or I’m going through airport security.

If a stranger is asking me for my wallet, keys and cell phone, either there’s a robbery going on or I’m going through airport security.

If a stranger is asking me to remove my sweater and boots and begins lightly stroking my arm, either I’m on a great date with a socially awkward person or I’m going through airport security.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Jan, 2012 02:47 pm
@wandeljw,
wandeljw wrote:

The Constitution trumps other regulations when there is a conflict or if the regulations are unreasonable. I see no conflict in treating congressmen the same way other travelers are treated. I don't see this as executive versus legislative.

It is when the legislator is on legislative business.
0 Replies
 
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Jan, 2012 03:19 pm
Ron Paul didn't just now start criticizing the TSA policies and methods.

A
R
T
Frank Apisa
 
  2  
Reply Mon 23 Jan, 2012 03:23 pm
@joefromchicago,
Thanks for this response, Joe. Perhaps I am not being clear.

The thing I am trying to find out is your OPINION as to whether or not the request to submit to a pat down, considering the fact that the scanner’s alarm had sounded, seems REASONABLE to you. I understand that you think this constitutional question of separation of powers trumps all else, BUT considering the fact that Paul went through a scanner…and the scanner sounded an alarm…do you think that the TSA people were reasonable in asking for a pat down?

Would it be more reasonable, in your opinion, for the TSA people to simply ignore the alarm…and not bother Paul any further?

And once the request was made (which I see as very reasonable) and in light of Paul’s refusal to be patted down, was it (in your opinion) reasonable for the TSA people to deny Paul access to the airplane…or do you feel it would have been more reasonable to simply disregard the alarm—and his refusal—and allow him to board the plane?
 

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