Skip to comments.DC Circuit Holds that New Airport Screening Security Measures Comply With the Fourth Amendment
Posted on 07/15/2011 9:00:00 AM PDT by freedomwarrior998
The new airport screening measures involving millimeter wave technology and backscatter technology together with the opt-out of a pat-down have received a great deal of public attention. Back when the new measures were first widely introduced, I blogged about why a Fourth Amendment challenge to the new practices was an uphill battle. Today, the DC Circuit handed down an opinion in EPIC v. Department of Homeland Security holding that the new practices comply with the Fourth Amendment. I believe this is the first clear court ruling on the question, and its certainly the first from a federal court of appeals. The opinion is by Judge Douglas Ginsburg, and it was joined by Judges Henderson and Tatel...
(Excerpt) Read more at volokh.com ...
From the Opinion:
[T]he petitioners argue that using [Advanced Imaging Technology] AIT for primary screening violates the Fourth Amendment because it is more invasive than is necessary to detect weapons or explosives. In view of the Supreme Courts repeated refus[al] to declare that only the least intrusive search practicable can be reasonable under the Fourth Amendment, City of Ontario v. Quon, 130 S. Ct. 2619, 2632 (2010) (internal quotation marks omitted), and considering the measures taken by the TSA to safeguard personal privacy, we hold AIT screening does not violate the Fourth Amendment.
As other circuits have held, and as the Supreme Court has strongly suggested, screening passengers at an airport is an administrative search because the primary goal is not to determine whether any passenger has committed a crime but rather to protect the public from a terrorist attack. See United States v. Aukai, 497 F.3d 955, 95863 (9th Cir. 2007) (en banc) (passenger search at airport checkpoint); United States v. Hartwell, 436 F.3d 174, 17881 (3d Cir. 2006) (Alito, J.) (same); United States v. Edwards, 498 F.2d 496, 499501 (2d Cir. 1974) (Friendly, J.) (carry-on baggage search at airport); see also Illinois v. Lidster, 540 U.S. 419 (2004) (police set up checkpoint to obtain information about earlier crash); Mich. Dept of State Police v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444 (1990) (sobriety checkpoint). An administrative search does not require individualized suspicion. City of Indianapolis v. Edmond, 531 U.S. 32, 41, 4748 (2000) (individualized suspicion required when police checkpoint is primarily [for] general crime control, that is, to detect evidence of ordinary criminal wrongdoing unlike searches at places like airports ... where the need for such measures to ensure public safety can be particularly acute). Instead, whether an administrative search is unreasonable within the condemnation of the Fourth Amendment is determined by assessing, on the one hand, the degree to which it intrudes upon an individuals privacy and, on the other, the degree to which it is needed for the promotion of legitimate governmental interests. United States v. Knights, 534 U.S. 112, 11819 (2001) (internal quotation marks omitted).
That balance clearly favors the Government here. The need to search airline passengers to ensure public safety can be particularly acute, Edmond, 531 U.S. at 4748, and, crucially, an AIT scanner, unlike a magnetometer, is capable of detecting, and therefore of deterring, attempts to carry aboard airplanes explosives in liquid or powder form. On the other side of the balance, we must acknowledge the steps the TSA has already taken to protect passenger privacy, in particular distorting the image created using AIT and deleting it as soon as the passenger has been cleared. More telling, any passenger may opt-out of AIT screening in favor of a patdown, which allows him to decide which of the two options for detecting a concealed, nonmetallic weapon or explosive is least invasive.
Contrary to the EPICs argument, it is not determinative that AIT is not the last step in a potentially escalating series of search techniques. In Hartwell, from which the petitioners tease out this argument, the Third Circuit upheld an airport search that started with a walk-through magnetometer, thence to scanning with a hand-held magnetometer and, when the TSA officer encountered a bulge in the passengers pocket, progressed (according to the passenger) to the officers removing a package of crack cocaine from that pocket. 436 F.3d at 17576. The court noted, however, that its opinion, while describing the search at issue there as minimally intrusive, did not purport to set the outer limits of intrusiveness in the airport context. Id. at 180 & n.10. Nothing in Hartwell, that is, suggests the AIT scanners must be minimally intrusive to be consistent with the Fourth Amendment.
There is nothing in the 4th amendment that allows these types of searches without a warrant. There is not wording that says, “if the search is an “administrative search” no warrant or permission of the person being searched is needed. This is a BS ruling one more item “found” in the constitution that isn’t really there.
True this is just a buch of crapola cobbled together by another activist court. The States need to start passing their own legislation outlawing the Naked scanners and the pat downs in their airports. Texas wimped out this time around. Maybe next session they won’t.
The original Republic lasted only until 1861.
IDIOTS or TOOLS. Our Founders wouldn’t put up with this for 10 seconds. We’ve put up with it for 10 years. More and more conditioning.
And here I thought they were just going to use the “no standing” excuse.
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