Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Decent Idea Out of Texas

Stop the presses! This is an unusual story, indeed. I'm about to say something good about Texas that doesn't involve my Texas Rangers baseball team. To wit: in a rare action that actually meets my approval the Texas House of Representatives recently passed a bill banning searches by TSA agents without probable cause. (Read about it here. See also here.) The law says that searches by these ubiquitous airport agents unless they have good reason to suspect that a person has committed a crime are illegal in Texas. The Boing Boing writeup has a wonderful description of the TSA's reaction: "The TSA has responded with headless chicken hysteria, making up gradeschool misinterpretations of the nature of US federalism." The TSA claims that the supremacy clause of the US Constitution (Art. IV, Clause 2*) "prevents the states from regulating the federal government." A bald-faced lie, according to knowledgeable commentators. Good writeup why is here.

So we have the long arm of federal intrusion into our lives claiming basically that there is nothing to restrain their intrusive power. I'm not interested in the constitutional niceties here. The huge public outcry against the latest outrages on Americans perpetrated by the TSA had no effect whatever. The intrusive pat-downs and scans have simply continued. So it's time for a state legislature, or many of them, to step in and protect the basic constitutional liberties of the citizenry.

Too bad it had to be Texas, though, a fruitcake state if ever one there was.

*This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.
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