Legal Question in Constitutional Law in New Hampshire

Patriot Act & T.S.A. Search & Seizure

In response to a previous question posted here(http://www.lawguru.com/cgi/bbs/mesg.cgi?i=822492332), an attorney indicated that the Patriot Act allows the TSA to get around the 4th Ammendment and 1st Ammendment restrictions regarding such activity. Given that there is no reasonably equivilent alternative to airline travel (i.e. a means of travel that is reasonably equivilent in terms of price and speed), I fail to see how legislation can override the Constitution, and fail to see how the TSA Search and Seizure rules are legal.

Asked on 10/23/06, 2:55 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman
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Re: Patriot Act & T.S.A. Search & Seizure

The right to travel within the United States does not imply a right to travel by whatever means you choose and under whatever conditions you decide are acceptable. It means only that the government cannot prevent you from traveling domestically. You have other ways of getting from one place to another, so even if the government is preventing you from getting on an airplane (which it isn't), your right to travel has not been infringed.

The fact that other means of travel will take longer is beside the point. People had the right to travel before the airplane was invented, so obviously traveling by means other than an airplane is consistent with having this right. That a new option became available does not meet everybody is entitled to use it whenever they want.

The Fourth Amendment forbids unreasonable, non-consensual searches and seizures. Given that you know you and your belongings may be searched at the airport, your purchase of an airline ticket is an implicit consent to such searches. If you aren't willing to subject yourself to this kind of inspection, all you have to do is not travel by air.

Your question also mentions the First Amendment, but that amendment deals only with expression, religion and assembly and is not really pertinent to the right to travel.

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10/23/06, 5:26 pm

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