Texas Drops the Ball of Liberty

James Daniels

Washington thought they could threaten Texas into submission. They thought warning Texas that it would become a no-fly zone was enough to get them back off. They were right, but it appeared that it was only for a few weeks. The bill to criminalize TSA groping came back with a vengeance and passed in both the state House and Senate. All it had to do was make it to Governor Rick Perry’s desk for a signature and it would have become law. Then, at the last minute – again, as the state’s House declined to accept the Senate’s version, which was thought to be tougher. Did they have the TSA’s threats in their minds? Were they afraid to stand up to the federal behemoth? In any event, the bill is dead, even though Washington was likely bluffing.

Despite claims to the contrary from the Federal Government, Texas, under it’s own laws and the US Constitution, had every right to pass and enforce this law. The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits the unreasonable searches of citizens. Most of us would agree that a body scan that produces a naked image or a pat-down of one’s genitals without a warrant is quite unreasonable. Remember, these aren’t passengers who are running through the airport with bazookas – they are ordinary civilians who are trying to get from point A to point B. 

Even though the TSA is clearly operating outside the law, they had the audacity to threaten Texas with economic warfare. The original threat was to essentially make Texas a no-fly zone. However, this was a weak threat in all reality, as it would have been ridiculous to carry it out. Let’s stop and think about this for a second. Texas is home to several major airports. Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Houston all have major airports in addition to plenty of other Texas cities that have smaller airports. American Airlines bases many of it’s flights out of Dallas-Forth Worth and, as a whole, this airport is the third busiest on Earth. Continental airlines bases many of it’s flights out of Houston. Have you ever flown on either of these airlines and had a layover? If so, you probably stopped in either Dallas-Fort Worth or Houston. Imagine the ripple effect shutting down all Texas airports would have on the airline industry and the economy.  Not only would Texas suffer, but the US economy would suffer as a whole.  Think of all the businesses in Texas and the rest of the US that are interdependent on each other. They’d be out of luck in terms of transporting personnel back and forth. Would the Obama administration really sabotage a large state and the rest of the country in an attempt to coerce Texas into submission? This would be a major case of the Federal Government cutting off it’s nose to spite it’s face.

 

Some believe the case would have been challenged in court had Texas passed the law. Under what grounds could the TSA challenge this? They’d have to have the Fourth Amendment repealed if they were to legally succeed. Any Judge worth a dime would realize this immediately. In fact, it would be interesting if Texas could turn this around and take the TSA to court in light of their obvious breach of the US Constitution. Maybe this overstep by the TSA would be enough for the Supreme Court to actually enforce the Constitution and restore some balance between the Federal Government and the states. However, given this latest example of the unwillingness of Texas lawmakers to take on Washington, they probably would take no such action. 

It is of worthy note that the now dead legislation was weaker than the original version. The punishment, making illegal groping a misdemeanor instead of the original intention of making it a felony. However, although this would have been less of a win than the original legislation would have provided, it would have still provided a victory in the battle against federal tyranny. It will also have served as proof to other states that the Federal Government is not invincible and they too can enforce the rights and well-being of their own citizens in the face of an overbearing Washington regime. The stakes are much higher than just avoiding having our genitals touched at the airport. The future of freedom will be decided by battles just like this – and Texas just allowed Washington to score a big one.

This all worked out to be the sham that some Texas politicians and radio host Alex Jones said it was. Texas appeared all but certain to pass anti-groping legislation twice in approximately 1 month and dropped the ball in the political end zone. However, this wasn’t a football game that disappointed a few thousand fans for a few days – this is the future of liberty that is going down because of failures like this. Unfortunately, Texas missed a chance to put a dent in TSA bullying as it is the second most populous state and wields considerable clout. For a state that prides itself on freedom and has the slogan “Don’t mess with Texas”, it has really shown little backbone in this whole charade. Maybe Texans will remind their lawmakers how disappointed they are with this in the next election. Texans and many Americans who supported their cause have been let down by the Texas Government. Hopefully Utah or another state that is planning a challenge to the TSA will step up and complete what Texas lawmakers were unable or unwilling to do. Who knows, maybe we’ll have a new slogan in a few months ; “Don’t mess with Utah”!