Federal Judge Dismisses Fourth Amendment ‘Human Billboard’ Lawsuit Against TSA
Some of you may remember last December when a young man stripped down in the airport with the Fourth Amendment written across his chest and was detained by the TSA for 90 minutes.
That ‘human billboard’ for the 4th Amendment, Aaron Tobey, filed a federal lawsuit against the TSA and federal officials to include DHS Chief Janet Napolitano and TSA head John Pistole for, among other things, violating his First and Fourth Amendment rights.
Unfortunately, a federal judge in the Eastern District of Virginia has just tossed out almost all of the case. The judge dismissed the passenger’s claims against the Capital Region Airport Commission, a few Richmond airport police officers, Napolitano, and Pistole.
At the core of the judge’s decision was the lack of senior officials’ proximity to the events. Basically, you can’t blame Napolitano for what a couple of underlings did at one airport in the U.S. As the judge wrote in his decision:
“Plaintiff does not allege that [Napolitano and Pistole] were directly involved in any way in the events, nor does he allege any facts suggestive of deliberate indifference.”
The judge also decided that the TSA guidelines alone could not constitute a rights violation, which absolved those same senior officials from any liability in their creation or implementation.
The court did, however, leave open the possibility that the screeners themselves could be personally liable. The judge wrote:
“The question is whether the TSOs in fact radioed for assistance because of the message plaintiff sought to convey… Because plaintiff’s unrebutted claim facially states a cause of action, the question of qualified immunity must await further discovery.”
So while the judge protected those at the top of the federal food chain, he left open the possibility that the screeners may be individually liable for violating Tobey’s civil rights.
That will provide little comfort to the plaintiff, who by all accounts just wanted to put his Constitutional rights on display– literally– and force the federal government to stop its invasive airport pat-down policies.
Perhaps it may have worked against Tobey that, unlike the rest of us, he made his flight despite the TSA security delay.
- ‘Bigoted, Religious [Zealots]‘: High School Senior Allegedly Expelled, Charged With Felonies Over Gay Relationship With ‘Consenting’ Fellow Student 842 Comments
- White House: ‘Irrelevant Fact’ Where Obama Was During Benghazi 348 Comments
- Washington Times Writer: Fox News Scandal Goes ‘Much Deeper,’ W.H. Sitting on Something Top Obama Aides ‘Terrified’ About 271 Comments
- CNN Poll: Obama’s Approval Rating Unchanged Since Scandals Hit 241 Comments
- ‘The Daily Show’ Creator Makes Outrageously Offensive Anti-Conservative Joke About Okla. Tornado 222 Comments
- Beck and Mercury One Head to Oklahoma to Launch Tornado Relief Effort Read More
- University Will Investigate Christian Professor’s Intelligent Design Class Following Atheist Furor 163 Comments
- Israeli Motorists Shocked When Nazi Flag Seen Flying Near Palestinian Mosque Read More
- Did Christian Prayers at Gov’t Meetings in This NY Town Violate the Constitution? 177 Comments
- ‘In the End, Everything Will Be Claimed’: Creator of First 3D-Printed Gun Highlights Creeping Gov’t Control of Technology Read More
- Sebelius’ Controversial Fundraising Efforts Raise Concerns, Allegedly Chase Away Potential Donors Read More
- See All the Viral Backlash Abercrombie & Fitch Has Received for Its CEO’s Comments From Years Ago That Resurfaced Again Read More
- Is This the ‘Smoking Gun’ That Ties the IRS Scandal to the White House? 182 Comments
- Monday Morning Market Roundup: Not Off to Such a Great Start Read More
- This Teen’s Invention Means You Could Charge Your Cellphone in Less Than 30 Seconds Read More
- One of the Most Unlikely Animals Being Trained to Hunt Land Mines Read More
- Woman Who Lost All Limbs to Flesh-Eating Bacteria Gets $200K Bionic Arms Read More
- Why Are These Zoo Keepers Baffled by This Anteater’s Babies? Read More
- Largest Lunar Explosion in NASA History Caught on Video 139 Comments
- Who Has More Viewers…President Obama’s Weekly Address Or The Daily Blazecast?
- Most people don’t think the DOJ was trying to bully the media by secretly taking reporters’ phone records
- Greta Van Susteren says DOJ ‘lucky’ they didn’t hack her emails
- Media Matters has no idea what to do with itself right now
- Caption that photo!: the winner
- AP photographer describes destroyed Okla. school
- Crews dig through night after deadly Okla. twister
- Death in Zimbabwe results in unusual US charge
- Owner: Chinese boat's captain beaten by NKoreans
- China's Li seeks stronger economic ties with India
- Myanmar Muslims jailed for killing Buddhist monk
- Officials: More attacks in Iraq; 7 killed
- In tornado's wake, worried parents seek out kids