General Question

phaedryx's avatar

Thoughts on H.R. 6416 (The American Traveler Dignity Act)?

Asked by phaedryx (6123points) November 19th, 2010

Here’s the bill in it’s entirety:

To ensure that certain Federal employees cannot hide behind immunity.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


No law of the United States shall be construed to confer any immunity for a Federal employee or agency or any individual or entity that receives Federal funds, who subjects an individual to any physical contact (including contact with any clothing the individual is wearing), x-rays, or millimeter waves, or aids in the creation of or views a representation of any part of a individual’s body covered by clothing as a condition for such individual to be in an airport or to fly in an aircraft. The preceding sentence shall apply even if the individual or the individual’s parent, guardian, or any other individual gives consent.

It was introduced by Ron Paul. His reasoning: if it’s illegal for an individual to do it, it should also be illegal for a TSA agent to do it.

We already grant special authority to individuals, like police officers. However, they need warrants to violate certain privacy rights.

If you know that it will be part of the process when you travel, are you giving implicit consent?

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15 Answers

squirbel's avatar

As much as I disagree with much of Ron [did you mean Rand?] Paul’s reasonings, I have to say I agree with this bill.

I do not believe traveling provides implicit consent. There are some people who don’t listen to news, and still travel. Are they providing consent? No, they are not.

Consent needs to be given.

jaytkay's avatar

It seems too specific. Like if we had to pass one law for murder by firearm and one for poison and one for knives, etc…

iamthemob's avatar

When we remove the inclusive language, it reads like this:

No law of the United States shall be construed to confer any immunity for a Federal employee who subjects an individual to any physical contact as a condition for such individual to be in an airport or to fly in an aircraft.

I don’t really feel like this is anything but too little, too late. I would like the language to be much, much stronger if this is going to bring any change about, considering that citizens would need to accuse the agent of doing something illegal in addition to the touching during the procedure (for instance, obviously fondling in a sexual manner).

This is, however, the one case where I might be glad that we have a fairly litigious society – and knowing that, the TSA may quickly cave in fear of or inevitably when the slew of individual and class action lawsuits start pouring in.

The unfortunate part that I see here, however, is that it removes the cloak of immunity mostly from the TSA agents. Although the agency itself may be brought in under certain employment-agent principles, we may see TSA agents getting sued, and then a whole bunch of them refusing to do the procedures. Watch that jam up the security line…

Lightlyseared's avatar

The TSA is the problem. More legislation isn’t going to change the fact that all they do is make travelling to (or in) the US unpleasant without really making it safer.

Fyrius's avatar

Nobody cares much about doctors seeing them with no clothes on, I think we can get used to not making a big deal out of these scanners either.

Nullo's avatar

I like the idea.
On a bit of a tangent, it’s always bothered me that the weapons used in the incident that set all of this paranoia off were bits of plastic, which, I might remind the ladies and gentlemen of the jury, does not set off metal detectors.

squirbel's avatar

The difference between doctors and TSA agents is about 12 years of schooling; many versus one; humiliation versus doing something necessary for one’s personal health.

jlelandg's avatar

Great idea, hold government accountable for the shit they enforce on us, and ask me to touch my crotch before you do (stolen from Penn).

@squirbel he probably means Ron…Rand is Ron’s son. Hope he is as good for Kentucky as Ron is for Texas.

Zaku's avatar

I think the sentiment is great, but I also think it should simply be the way things work in this country. Before George W. Bush promised to defend our “way of life” by introducing the Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Department and all this airline nonsense and border nonsense etc etc, I thought it was part of our way of life that we didn’t tolerate unnecessary crap like this. It should be part of a broader statute that reaffirms due process and human rights in the USA and which conflicts with the bullshit that was created by the previous administration.

snowberry's avatar

Well, with the Homeland Security act, they don’t even need a warrant to break into your house. So that point is moot.

Zaku's avatar

Which is why it should be abolished and/or ruled unconstitutional.
I think it’s very un-American of Americans to not have tossed that out on its behind.

Nullo's avatar

@Zaku Apparently, the system has become infested with post-modernism. The Supreme Court is ruling on the validity of the Constitution.

jaytkay's avatar

The Supreme Court is ruling on the validity of the Constitution.

Probably not. Watch out for those PRNewswire links. Anyone can post anything there.

And anybody can file a court case.

That looks like some crackpot submitted some paperwork to a Federal court and then bragged about it on PRNewswire.

Nullo's avatar

@jaytkay I’m going to cross my fingers and hope that you’re right.

Ron_C's avatar

I think Ron Paul is correct in this case. In fact, I’m sitting in a airport lounge at Bush International airport (I have to grit my teeth evertime I see that name). I went through security at McAllen, Tx. and since it is a small airport I expected the standard screening. But as I went through the line the attendent told me how to place my hand and arms because she assumed I was going through the x-ray. I figured that I had enough x-rays in my life and refused. I got patted down like a criminal. I hate the idea of taking off my shoes, I really hate the screening process. I’m for profiling and inspecting anyone that might be a terrorist instead of a 65 year old fat guy!

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