Freedom to Travel

Although my willingness to show support for freedom would normally trump my aversion to attire “suitable for court”, I was unable to attend the hearing this morning at SF’s Ninth Circuit Court.

Local boy, Sun co-founder, and staunch civil libertarian John Gilmore was there trying to stop the police state now in affect at the airports. Tim Cavanaugh shares his impression of how it went. Be warned that it isn’t particularly cheery.

Someone with understanding of our legal system once remarked “You may be right, but you’re not necessarily the right one [to challenge the law.]” The first to challenge a law sets the precedent. If it isn’t done right the first time, then we’re usually stuck with the much more arduous legislative route to change. Not a promising situation, since that branch is from whence the evil originated.

It ain’t over ’til it’s over. Stay tuned.

4 Comments so far

  1. cd (unregistered) on December 8th, 2005 @ 9:27 pm

    Um . . .

    As a law student – and as any armchair American policy watcher these days – could tell you, the “slippery slope” argument is a powerful rhetorical device in court and on CourtTV.

    So perhaps the tiny, chipping away of civil rights is embodied in a request for identification at an airport.

    But on the other hand – and I don’t mean this against you Morey – give me a f*cking break.

    If this guy is seriously basing his challenge on the fourth amendment, I’m not sure how it wins. Now, I took crim pro last semester and I’m not the worlds best law student nor do i intend to practice crim law at this point, but i do recall that the first thing you need for these challenges is some kind of custody. Dude was never in custody when he was asked to present identification. nothing was seized from him. he was not searched.

    had they taken him in a backroom, maybe. but i’m sure he felt free to go at any time.

    no one violated his rights.

    but if he wants to end ID checks prior to flights, he’s going to start imposing on mine.

    seriously, people, a modicum of common sense is all i ask . . . .

  2. morey (unregistered) on December 8th, 2005 @ 11:25 pm

    no one violated his rights. but if he wants to end ID checks prior to flights, he’s going to start imposing on mine.

    CD, maybe one day we will find some topic to agree on, but today is not that day.

    I’m not willing to trade liberty for safety. I don’t want to tracked with some RFID badge as I pass from point to point. You obviously feel differently. And that’s OK. Difference is good. Choice is good.

    IF the market were allowed to cater to our different demographics, then you could choose to buy your ticket on ‘Cavity Search Airways’, while I could choose to fly ‘Armed to the Teeth Airlines’. Wouldn’t that be nice?

  3. cd (unregistered) on December 9th, 2005 @ 10:09 am

    See, the slippery slope argument is working against both of us here.

    I object to shoe-removal nonsense. But not to be asked to show identification. I’m not sure how flashing my ID equals a body cavity search.

    I think this plaintiff has a bad case, even if he believes he has a good point. Has he used a credit card lately? Done any of the million other things where ID’s are requested to prevent theft or mistakes?

  4. Lois Garcia (unregistered) on December 9th, 2005 @ 4:31 pm

    Please book me a ticket on Armed to the Teeth airlines. I want to fly to New Hampshire ASAP.


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