Professional wrestlers and politicians are generally held in equal low esteem on my personal scale of favorite persons, but straight talking libertarian former Minnesota Governor and professional wrestler Jesse "The Body" Ventura rates as a clear exception to my rule. He’s a good guy, a decent fellow all around, and my favorite politician.
That’s why I sympathize with him deeply for being so upset over the fact that his airport security lawsuit was dismissed recently by a Federal District Judge in St. Paul Minnesota. I agree with him wholeheartedly in spirit but, had he been my client, I’d have told him frankly from the beginning that his noble cause was likely doomed to fail.
Mr. Ventura apparently had titanium hip implant replacement surgery in 2008. His implant sets off the airport metal detectors every time, and last November when he attempted to board a plane at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, the alarms went off again.
This time he was subjected to one of those mortifying all intrusive TSA full-body pat-down searches which made him furious. He said he hasn't flown since and won't fly commercially again.
So last January he sued the federal government claiming that his treatment at the airport by the TSA amounted to an unreasonable and therefore unlawful search in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights under the United States Constitution.
I couldn’t agree with him more, but unfortunately current legal precedent is not exactly on our side, and that’s why the federal district judge tossed his case out, saying essentially that it should have been filed in a Circuit Court of Appeals.
This development has upset my man so much he’s threatened to apply for dual citizenship so that he can spend more time in Mexico -- or failing that, run for president of what he calls "the Fascist States of America."
He certainly does have a way with words for which I admire.
"I will not, in a free country, be treated like a criminal. In our airports today, we citizens are treated like criminals. We're guilty until we're proven innocent."
He’s lost his patriotism: "I will never stand for a national anthem again. I will turn my back and I will raise a fist," he declared.
My sentiments exactly!
"I want a trial by jury. They tell me I can have a jury decide my fate," he said. "If given a jury, I will win."
Well, I don’t know where he got that idea. Maybe he didn’t listen to his lawyer, or maybe his lawyer forgot the basic rule that juries can decide only questions of fact – not questions of law. He’s not entitled to a jury trial. The facts are not in dispute.
Whether TSA airport searches violate the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment is purely a question of law for a court to decide, and in this instance, the 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, in the 2005 case of U.S. v. Marquez, upheld earlier precedent that airport searches are administrative in nature, and reasonable if: (1) no more extensive or intensive than necessary, in light of current technology, to detect weapons or explosives; (2) confined in good faith to that purpose; and (3) passengers may avoid the search by electing not to fly.
That’s why the case was booted. The U.S. Supreme Court has not yet decided whether TSA random pat-down searches are constitutional, but current lower federal court precedent is not helpful.
I think my favorite politician should file an appeal to the 8th Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, and if he loses again there he should file an application for a Writ of Certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, and beg them to hear the case.
I’m rooting for ya, Jessie!