Federal response to likely passage of anti-pat down bill could provoke massive states’ rights backlash
Paul Joseph WatsonPrison Planet.com
A bill that would criminalize invasive TSA pat downs in Texas has risen like a phoenix from the flames, with Governor Rick Perry being forced to include the item on the agenda for the current special session of the legislature, setting the stage for what could potentially become a watershed moment in the battle to peel back a federal power grab that has characterized the advance of big government.
Despite initially shirking responsibility by erroneously claiming that the bill did not have enough support to pass, Governor Perry was forced to place the item on the special session agenda yesterday, meaning TSA workers could face a year in jail or a $4,000 fine if they “touch the anus, sexual organ, buttocks, or breast of another person, even through that person’s clothing for the purpose of granting access to a building or a form of transportation,” according to the text of the legislation.
Under the terms of the Texas Constitution, Perry has the authority to forward bills for the consideration of the special session, and that’s precisely what he did yesterday, announcing, “Legislation relating to prosecution and punishment for the offense of official oppression of persons seeking access to public buildings and transportation.”
Following Perry’s announcement, sponsor of the bill Senator Dan Patrick stated, “The people’s voice has been heard in Austin. Thanks for the literally thousands of calls & e-mails. This is a “Come & Take It Moment” again for Texas… Once again Texas will take a stand that will reverberate around the nation.”
Absent the dirty tricks that shot down the progress of the legislation the first time around, the bill should have no problems in getting enough votes to be passed – the majority of state Senators support SB 29, with a number still undecided and just two against. The schedule for the special session is due to run until June 30, but Perry also has the authority to extend this deadline.
The real test will be how the federal government reacts to the passage of the legislation, a response which is likely to be characterized by two separate arguments.
One – the feds will simply claim that the bill is superseded by the Supremacy Clause of the US constitution, arguing that states cannot regulate the federal government, and will order TSA goons to continue groping Americans. This will kick start a massive states’ rights battle, but TSA workers will still be reticent to abuse their power for fear of lawsuits. However, if they pursue this route, the feds won’t have a leg to stand on.
The Supremacy Clause merely states that the Constitution is supreme, not that the authority of the government is supreme. Indeed, if anything the Supremacy Clause works in favor of the anti-pat down bill because it reinforces the protections guaranteed by the fourth amendment against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Two – the government will adopt an altogether more aggressive approach and repeat their threats of financial terrorism by resolving to impose a federal blockade to prevent flights operating out of Texas airports. This tactic was used to kill HB 1937 before it could even reach the Senate last month following the circulation of a letter written by DoJ Attorneys that threatened to cancel all commercial flights in the state.
The power of the federal government to impose a de facto “no fly zone” over Texas is non-existent. If this is attempted, Texas airports could simply replace all TSA workers with private screeners and give the feds a symbolic middle finger. What’s more likely to happen is some kind of compromise deal, but TSA agents would still be less likely to carry out grope downs for fear of lawsuits.
Years of growing outrage over TSA grope-downs and naked body scanners has culminated in this momentous showdown. The outcome of this fight will determine the course of this issue for years to come, and will shape whether the TSA becomes a literal occupying army in a Sovietized America, or whether the organization itself and the Homeland Security takeover in general withers and dies.
URGENT – Contact the undecided Senators on this list and urge them to show their support for Senator Dan Patrick’s TSA Anti-Groping bill — SB 29.