Texas is gearing up for a fight with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) over its perverse airport screening tactics. Last week, the state House of Representatives unanimously approved legislation holding TSA agents accountable for their conduct under sexual harassment statutes.
Like most Americans, these Lone Star State lawmakers are fed up with being groped, irradiated and photographed in the nude as a precondition for travel. Such treatment would come to a halt in Texas if House Bill 1937 became law. The measure proposes serious criminal penalties for any “public servant” who touches a passenger in a sexual or otherwise offensive way absent probable cause.
The prospect of TSA bureaucrats being hauled out of airport terminals in handcuffs has sent the agency scrambling. “What’s our take on the Texas House of Representatives voting to ban the current TSA pat-down?” the official TSA blog asked in an article posted Saturday. “Well, the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article VI Clause 2) prevents states from regulating the federal government.” In other words, Uncle Sam has unlimited powers, and there’s nothing the states can do about it.
Providing transportation security is certainly not among the federal government’s enumerated powers. In fact, it’s a function not well-suited to government. So far, instead of catching terrorists, the TSA itself has terrorized toddlers with sippy cups, seniors with medical implants and infants with “explosive” diapers. Agency operatives can treat the public with contempt because, as unionized employees, they have guaranteed lifetime employment. Agency leadership can continue to do whatever it wants because Congress has proved too cowardly to act.