Co-authored by Steve Baysinger and Brian Roberts
This week after a little time to reflect, Texans are wondering what happened to the TSA bill last week. A month ago it looked like shoe-in, then it looked dead, then it was reborn, then it was delayed in creative ways only to find the dustbin at the end of the special session. Barring reintroduction in a second special session, the bill is dead for the immediate future. But what happened? Why are Texas leaders refusing to step between the TSA agents’ fondling fingers and citizen’s dignity? Why are Texas leaders allowing the TSA to run around the clear limitations set forth in the Fourth Amendment?
Lots of questions. Very few answers.
But there is one answer that remains clear… the Texas leadership completely failed Texans!
Less than a month ago, the confidence level in passing the TSA bill was high. The Texas House had just passed the bill with a vote of 138-0. The Senate was next and was widely reported to have near unanimous support for the bill as well. Then it would be off to Gov. Perry’s office. This was a strongly worded piece of legislation that rejected outright invasive searches without probable cause. Few state representatives at the time were willing to side with a federal agency that groped innocent citizens and denied Texans their Fourth Amendment rights. At this point in time, passing the legislation looked like a sure thing.
Suddenly, without warning, the Department of Justice engaged head-on the Texas legislative process, threatening Texas with a no-fly zone should this legislation pass. From then on everything changed. Never mind, the DOJ letter was laughably inaccurate in its suggestion that the Supremacy Clause could be used to deny Fourth Amendment protections. Never mind, the TSA is acting as a rouge agency without laws authorizing its behavior. Never mind, that an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution would be required to negate the Fourth Amendment so that such authority might be given to the TSA. Never mind, the wide range of confirmed incidence of overzealous TSA gropers of babies, pre-teens, grandmothers and even a Miss USA contestant. Never mind, the exact purpose of this bill was to say “NO” to the federal government!
Regardless, everything changed.Details