Supreme Court’s Scalia on TSA abuse: Meh

Anybody who thinks the Supreme Court will protect us from the TSA is dreaming. More accurately, he has his head somewhere other than above his shoulders. 

People keep claiming in comments here at TSA News that (paraphrasing): “We just need a case to make it all the way to the Supreme Court. Then the 4th Amendment can be upheld.”

To which I’ve been saying: “Yeah, right.”

And now here comes Justice Antonin Scalia, supposed defender of the sanctity of the Constitution, to tell us where he stands. In reference to the NSA’s widespread, illegal surveillance, with fellow Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at his side, Scalia says that freedoms aren’t absolute. Fair enough. I agree with him that freedoms aren’t absolute; there are limits to everything in life. It’s called reality.

But Scalia goes on to say (and yes, it pains me to link to the execrable Breitbart, but c’est la vie):

“. . . As Ruth has said there are very few freedoms that are absolute. I mean your person is protected by the Fourth Amendment, but as I pointed out when you board a plane someone can pass his hands all over your body. That’s a terrible intrusion, but given the danger that it’s guarding against it’s not an unreasonable intrusion. And it can be the same thing with acquiring this data that is regarded as effects. That’s why I say its foolish to have us make the decision because I don’t know how serious the danger is in this NSA stuff, I really don’t.”

There you have it — TSA clerks pawing your genitals is “a terrible intrusion, but given the danger that it’s guarding against, it’s not unreasonable.” One can only imagine Scalia, sitting around the Thanksgiving table, chiding a furious relative who’d just been groped that “It’s not unreasonable.”

So suck it up, peons. The fact that planes weren’t being blown out of the sky left and right in all the years before we were being groped doesn’t matter. Always remember: facts don’t matter. I don’t know how many times I have to say it. Just put your head down, shut your mouth, and get on the damn plane.

(Cross-posted at ABombazine)

  • Susan Richart

    I found yet another reference to TSA taking nitro away from a passenger:

    “A family regaled us with all kinds of TSA stories, from the confiscation of the dad’s nitro pills (yes, really…no problem dying of a heart attack as long as we are safe from terrorists wielding tiny white pills) to a relative in NY who was told by a TSA screener to get back in line “or I’ll cut your throat”! (This, in front of the man’s young son, who became frightened, believing this to be a very real threat, thanks to the fake cop uniform.) By the way, since they confiscate the life-saving nitro pills, now when Dad must travel, he simply hides them, unlabeled, and of course the TSA never notices a thing”*

    The above was on Alaskans Freedom to Travel USA Facebook page from January, 2013.

    If you aren’t aware, the Alaskans Freedom to Travel USA group protests the TSA at the Anchorage Airport on a regular basis. For those of you who aren’t aware, about the only way Alaskans can travel either intrastate or interstate is by air and many of them are sick unto death of having to go through the TSA in order to move around their own state.

    *A pharmacist on another forum, don’t recall which one, recommends that passengers who require nitro just hide it in a pocket of their carry-on along with other items such as keys and cell phone.

  • For readers who are unfamiliar with all the inside-baseball stuff in the comments:

    “West” refers to West Cooper, who is a TSA agent in North Carolina. He posts at FlyerTalk under the handle “gsoltso” which indicates that he is a “Lead Transportation Security Officer” at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, NC.
    Here’s the link to his FlyerTalk profile:

    He also regularly writes at the propaganda emporium known as the TSA Blog. It’s the official blog of the TSA. Here’s his profile there:

    West, along with Blogger Bob and others, comes up with those mind-numbing posts week after week, listing every knife, knuckle purse, and inert grenade that the TSA confiscates around the country. He is challenged constantly on the facts of his statements by commenters, yet rarely, if ever, addresses said comments. Mostly he just repeats boilerplate PR talking points.

    He has, for instance, been asked repeatedly about nitroglycerine medication. Obviously this is life-saving medication for heart patients. His idiot colleagues at the TSA have been known to confiscate such medicine at airports, on the inane assumption that they can blow up a plane. No matter how many times West has been asked about this — at FlyerTalk and at the TSA Blog — he refuses to address it.

    Here’s his Facebook page:

    Here’s his Google Plus page:

    And his MyLife page:

    And his Blogger profile:

    Oh, hell, I’ll just do a whole post on this.

    • Susan Richart

      He just addressed the issue at both the Blog and on FT.

      And he gave a non-answer.

      It’s easy to find the flaw in his “answer.”

      • Ha! He must’ve seen these comments. We know he reads TSA News.

        • Susan Richart

          Someone who goes by the name RB on the TSA Blog has been pushing very hard for the TSA to make a formal comment.

          The TSA needs to come out with a statement that ALL prescribed meds are allowed on a plane, absolutely no exceptions, and no screener is allowed to deny a passenger any medication.

          • Susan Richart

            At the TSA Blog, RB is not allowing West to get away with any amount of weaseling; he’s taking him to task as well he should.

          • RonBonner

            I think most here know that I am that RB. If they didn’t they do now.

            I think we deserve a specific answer from someone in a position of authority.

          • Susan Richart

            Too early in the a.m. to find the right word, but my original comment about RB was written with the wink of an eye. You’re doing a great job of pushing him on this subject.

      • P.S. And the pertinent sentence, now and always, is:

        “The final decision rests with TSA on whether to allow any items on the plane.”

        As we’ve been saying for years, the TSA has absolute power. The TSA can decide, based purely on a whim, whether you or your belongings get on a plane. I’d like to know when people will get this through their heads.

        • Susan Richart


  • RonBonner

    I wonder what Scalia would say about reports of TSA screeners confiscating travelers medicine to treat angina?

    If this is actual TSA policy I think Pistole should be arrested, charged, and tried for crimes against America?

    • Ron, do you have a link for that angina thing? Pls post.

      • Susan Richart

        You’ll note if you read the link that West couldn’t get a response for the poster.

        The question about nitro pills has been addressed several times on the blog with no response. Seems to me if this were not the TSA policy, they would be very anxious to make certain that the flying public is informed as they are so quick to defend themselves when accused of misconduct.

      • RonBonner

        Not sure what you are asking for.

        Medical nitroglycerin is used to treat angina. It is also used for other medical treatments and is dispensed as a pill, patch, and as an ointment.

        Flyertalk poster Chollie reported having the pills confiscated by TSA. Susan has posted the link.

        If this didn’t address your question please let me know.

  • Nicko

    I think we can all agree here that those who criticize Justice Scalia could have handled their positions/opinions better. Remember, 9/11.

  • Dolt

    “They gradually entrusted the role of defending the Empire to barbarian mercenaries who eventually turned on them.”

    The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon

  • Michael Landers

    When has he ever done anything right?

  • RonBonner

    All three branches of our government have gone bat shit crazy.

    What ever happened to common sense and reasoned thought?

  • frostysnowman

    What a pig.

  • Susan J. Barretta

    Scalia makes my stomach turn.