Wednesday, October 12, 2011
A public interest legal team at the Rutherford Institute is taking to the next level a district court judge’s decision to dismiss several claims against the federal Transportation Security on based on a “secret order” from the agency.
The fight over TSA procedures has been raging for nearly two years, after the government agency started implementing “enhanced” security screenings that involve essentially two options: an X-ray that is a virtual strip search of a passenger and a pat-down that critics have likened to sexual assaults in public.
The cases were brought on behalf ofAdrienne Durso, D. Chris Daniels, Michelle Nemphos and a minor, C.N.andMichael S. Roberts and Ann Poe.Both cases were against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and John Pistole, the chief of the TSA.
They argue that since Americans do not lose their constitutional rights if they want to travel, the invasive procedures are out of line.
The institute said today it has appealed to the D.C. Court of Appeals on behalf of the plaintiff airline passengers and pilots “who refused to submit to virtual strip searches involving advanced imaging technology, which exposes intimate details of a person’s body to government agents, or submit to highly invasive pat-down searches during which TSA agents may go so far as to reach inside a traveler’s pants.”
“The appeal comes in response to a federal district court ruling that dismissed the cases on the grounds that the court has no jurisdiction in TSA matters. In justifying the dismissal, U.S. District Court Judge Henry H. Kennedy, Jr. cited a secret order issued by the TSA as the basis for ruling that the D.C. Court of Appeals hear any reviews of TSA procedures. Insisting that the order contains ‘sensitive security information,’ the government has yet to make public the document embodying the TSA enhanced screening procedures,” the organization reported.