Friday, September 23, 2005

Court rules no right to tell TSA screeners they live in a bubble
You can wear a jacket with "Fuck The Draft" on the back into a court of law, but, according to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, don't even think about swearing loudly at any TSA officials who make you miss your plane.

Today, the Court ruled that TSA can arrest and fine you for swearing loudly and belligerently while you're being searched at the airport security check because it "interferes" with the TSA's job. The court rejected any First Amendment right to free speech, claiming that while asking a "good-faith question" with profanity in it or even "grumbling" with profanity would not be enough for a fine, the conduct here somehow constituted more.

Specifically, the court ruled:

Petitioner’s conduct in this case, however, cannot be characterized as simply asking a good-faith question while using profanities or as grumbling about not being allowed to walk back through the metal detector or the delay in being hand-wanded.

Rather, Petitioner interfered with the screener in the performance of his duties by actively engaging the screener with loud and belligerent conduct, and, after being asked not to use profanities, by exclaiming that the screener should be in a different line of work, that he should live in a bubble, and that it was a free country in which he could say what he pleased.

Due to the escalating loud and belligerent nature of Petitioner’s conduct directed at the screener, the screener needed to shut down his line and call over his supervisor. Thus, Petitioner’s conduct interfered with the screener’s duty to both thoroughly screen passengers and to do so in an efficient manner.

Is this really a justifiable difference? So its okay to ask the TSA "Why the fuck do I have to take my shoes off?" but not to tell them they live in a bubble or that this is a free country?


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