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How to Stop TSA Abuse: A Biblical Look at Fourth Amendment Liberties

  • Wesley Strackbein,
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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) institutionalized the shaming of America's citizenry in late 2010 when it implemented new invasive screening polices at commercial airports across the U. S. The new procedures involve the use of full-body scanners that capture near-nude images of air travelers, which are viewed by TSA officers behind closed doors, and the use of aggressive, full-body pat-downs that entail TSA agents touching the private parts of innocent citizens. Both procedures are now routinely performed on air travelers, despite the fact that the persons screened have demonstrated no probable cause of wrongdoing.

This frontal assault on human dignity has prompted widespread outrage, as stories have emerged of little children being inappropriately touched1 and 85-year-old grandmothers being strip-searched and humiliated.2 Such cases are hardly isolated, as the ACLU received 900 complaints of TSA abuse in a single month.3

The TSA's screening polices are in clear contempt of America's Bill of Rights, as the Fourth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution prohibits federal agents from such tyrannical invasions of privacy: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated ..."

The Biblical Foundations of the Fourth Amendment

The liberties embodied in the Fourth Amendment are not mere human conventions, but flow from God's law order as revealed in His written Word. Two Biblical principles undergird its protections.

A Man's Home Is His Castle

First, a man's home is his castle, the sanctity of which should not to be intruded upon without lawful warrant. We find this principle outlined in Deuteronomy 24:10-11 which prohibits a lender from entering a man's home without his permission to secure the payment of a debt:

When thou dost lend thy brother any thing, thou shalt not go into his house to fetch his pledge. Thou shalt stand abroad, and the man to whom thou dost lend shall bring out the pledge abroad unto thee.4

Of this legal restriction, R. J. Rushdoony has observed:

This law sets down a premise which has had a major impact on Christendom. When, in colonial America, Judge James Otis decreed that "a man's home is his castle," he had reference to this law. Intrusion into a man's house is a violation of his freedom. God's law protects a man from the malice and interference of powerful men. To protect men's houses and properties is to uphold God's order, because God has established the legitimate boundaries of the family's jurisdiction and freedom.5

This said, under Mosaic law, the home and family government could not shield a man if there was due cause to convict him of a capital crime. For example: While a man could lawfully flee to the city of refuge if he killed someone by accident (Num. 35:11), if he committed premeditated murder, he was required to come out from his home, face prosecution, and receive the death penalty (Ex. 21:12-13; Lev. 17:4), if convicted by the mouth of two or more witnesses (Num. 35:30). While the legal barriers which must be met to enter a man's home are very high under God's law, they are not absolute, as the Fourth Amendment recognizes.

A Man's Body Is to Be Clothed, Not Shamefully Uncovered

The second Biblical principle which undergirds the Fourth Amendment is that a man's body is his to appropriately clothe, and his private parts should not be intruded upon, shamefully uncovered, or unlawfully viewed (Gen. 9:22; Hab. 2:15; Mic. 2:8-10).

This principle finds its origin in the Garden of Eden. After Adam and Eve sinned by eating of the forbidden fruit, they were ashamed of their nakedness and made fig leaves to cover their private parts. God Himself then intervened. After confronting Adam and Eve for their sin and shame, amidst a curse and promise of redemption, He formally established and defined a rule of moral decency by giving them clothes to wear (Gen. 3:21).

Apart from intimacy between husband and wife6 and care of infants and the infirm, God requires that humans are to be clothed in the presence of others-including family members. To look upon or uncover the nakedness of another, or to forcibly disrobe the innocent, are serious offenses, and those who commit such acts are flatly condemned (Gen. 9:22; Lev. 18:6-7, 11-18; Hab. 2:15; Mic. 2:8-10).

Satan: The Chief Exploiter of Nakedness

Subverters of God's law order have spurned this mandate for millennia, and Satan is the chief usurper who delights in unlawful human nakedness. This is evidenced by the demon-possessed man whom Jesus rescued during His earthly ministry. Luke's gospel gives this account:

And when [Jesus] went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes ... Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind ...7

In discussing the significance of this episode, Jeff Pollard observes the following concerning the Devil's desire to advance and exploit wrongful human nakedness:

When driven by the devils, the demoniac was naked; when in his right mind by the power and grace of Jesus Christ, he was covered ... God covered man in the Garden; it appears that Satan and the devils have been trying to strip him ever since.8

Forced Nakedness: A Tool of Tyrants Who Claim Total Sovereignty

Yet Satan is hardly the only rebel power who has sought to disrobe others and thereby bring shame upon a people. Tyrannical regimes throughout history have used this tactic to humiliate, demoralize, and subjugate those they rule. In so doing, such despotic states have sought to establish themselves as the total sovereign over the human body in defiance of God who alone claims sovereignty over all His creation (Ps. 24:1). Lael Weinberger writes: "The power to command nakedness is a symbolic power, representing the complete command over the individual."9

In wielding such power, the state presupposes ownership of the individual, a point noted by sociologist Herbert Spencer:

The conquered man, prostrate before his conqueror, and becoming himself a possession, simultaneously loses possession of whatever things he has about him; and therefore, surrendering his weapons, he also yields up, if the victor demands it, whatever part of his dress is worth taking. Hence the nakedness, partial or complete, of the captive, becomes additional evidence of his subjugation.10

No state has the authority to claim such sovereign ownership over another man, and those who do so are usurpers of God's moral order.

The Assyrian Empire is perhaps the most noteworthy world power in ancient times to assume such a posture and to strip their captives naked as a show of subjugation. Multiple reliefs that are extant from the period depict these atrocities. Isaiah writes of their well-known and much-feared practice in his prophecy concerning Egypt:

[T]he king of Assyria [shall] lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt. (Isa. 20:4)

Fourth Amendment Assaults: Judgment from Without and Within

Such invasions of human dignity are clearly described by the prophets as a judgment of God.11 Of the destruction of Jerusalem, the Prophet Ezekiel states:

And I will also give thee into their hand, and they shall throw down thine eminent place, and shall break down thy high places: they shall strip thee also of thy clothes, and shall take thy fair jewels, and leave thee naked and bare. (Eze. 16:39)

It is notable that forced nakedness and sexual exploitation by oppressors is listed alongside violations of the sanctity of the home in several judgments pronounced by the prophets. Zechariah lists them in tandem, writing: "the houses [shall be] rifled, and the women ravished" (Zec. 14:2).

The Prophet Micah lists both in succession as well (Mic. 2:8-9), but what is significant about his prophecy is that he is not describing tyranny by a foreign invader, but oppression from within Judah and Israel itself. "Even of late," Micah writes, women were being "cast out from their pleasant houses" (v. 9), and innocent travelers were being violated as if they were enemies of the state: "But you rise against my people as an enemy; you strip the robe from the peaceful, from those who pass by trustingly with no thought of war"(v. 8).12

Bruce Waltke notes the irony of this abuse internal to the Jewish states in his commentary on Micah; "Israel's leaders might just as well have been the Assyrians or the later Babylonians in spoiling Israel." 13

Matthew Henry makes a similar point: "Those who formerly rose up against the enemies of the nation ... now of late rose up as enemies of the nation, and, instead of defending it, destroyed it, and did it more mischief (as usually such vipers in the bowels of a state do) than a foreign enemy could do. They made a prey of men, women, and children."14

While there is no "weapons check" delineated in Micah's prophecy, as the stripping described here was done chiefly to plunder, his point speaks directly to the intrusions of the TSA: they are accosting innocent travelers, who have no intent to do harm, as one would a sworn enemy.

Robert Jackson: Nuremburg and the Nazi Legacy of Oppression

One man who decried such abuses was Robert Jackson, Associate Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court from 1941-1954. From 1945-46, Jackson took a leave of absence from his post on America's high court to serve as Chief U. S. Prosecutor of Nazi war criminals at the Nuremburg Trials.

The Nazis were notorious for using forced nakedness and needless searches as an intimidation tactic,15 and Jackson was exposed to a mountain of evidence of Nazi oppression committed not only against various ethnic groups that Hitler loathed, but against the German people as well. In Jackson's opening address at Nuremburg, he declared: "They took from the German people all those dignities and freedoms that we hold natural and inalienable rights in every human being."16

After returning to the Supreme Court, Jackson had little patience for encroachments on the Fourth Amendment, and in 1949 he wrote a dissenting opinion in Brinegar v. United States when the majority ruled to weaken the Constitutional standard to allow U. S. officers more free rein in searching individuals. Jackson protested:

These rights, I protest, are not mere second-class rights but belong in the catalog of indipensable [sic] freedoms. Among deprivations of rights, none is so effective in cowing a population, crushing the spirit of the individual and putting terror in every heart. Uncontrolled search and seizure is one of the first and most effective weapons in the arsenal of every arbitrary government.17

James Otis: Defender against Unlawful Searches

Such capricious abuses were precisely what American colonists experienced at the hands of the British in the late 1700s, and Boston patriot James Otis rose to defend the colonists' rights against this tyranny. When Parliament issued the Writs of Assistance in 1760, establishing general warrants which authorized customs officials to search for smuggled material within any American colonists' premises-whether or not there was probable cause for wrongdoing-Otis objected, describing England's policy as an "[instrument] of slavery on the one hand and villainy on the other."

While Otis acknowledged in a five-hour speech that special search warrants were at times necessary to fight crime, he staunchly opposed general warrants that allowed for officers to search homes indiscriminately, stating: "the writ ... being general, is illegal. It is a power that places the liberty of every man in the hands of every petty officer."

Otis's point was clear: You can't molest law-abiding colonists without just cause under the guise of apprehending traitors to the English Crown. If there's a legitimate reason to believe a crime has been committed, a search can be sanctioned. Otherwise, it's hands off.18

The indiscriminate harassment of private citizens by the British eventually led to the Fourth Amendment's adoption as part of the Bill of Rights, which guarantees: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated ..."

"Necessity Trumps Liberty": An Age-Old Ploy

The excuse given by the TSA for handling Americans' private parts and trampling on travelers' personal dignity at U. S. airports is that "necessity requires it." If we want to avoid another 9/11, we must forego some of our cherished constitutional liberties. Mo McGowan, Former Director of TSA Security Operations, put it bluntly: "Nobody likes to have their Fourth Amendment [rights] violated going through a security line, but the truth of the matter is, we're going to have to do it."19

Our government's tactic to pound "the sinister drumbeat of fear"20 to excuse violating our loved ones-"if we don't touch your private parts, we're all doomed!"-is an age-old ploy used by tyrannical regimes throughout history.21

William Pitt denounced this "necessity trumps liberty" rationale in a 1783 speech before the British House of Commons: "Was it not necessity which had always been the plea of every evil exertion of power, or excessive oppression? Was not necessity the pretense of every usurpation? Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves."22

Numerous Founding Fathers of America likewise acknowledged the proclivity of governments to abridge the rights of citizens in response to outside threats, be they real or perceived.23 James Madison declared: "The fetters imposed on liberty at home have ever been forged out of the weapons provided against real, pretended, or imaginary danger from abroad."24 In 1798, Madison related the very same sentiment in a letter to Thomas Jefferson.25

Interposition: A Biblical Response to Statist Tyranny

That very year, Madison and Jefferson gave a critical template of how states and local governments should respond when outside threats are used as the pretext by the federal government to curtail the liberty of law-abiding citizens. Both men took up their pens to oppose the Alien and Sedition Acts which violated the First Amendment's right to free speech and the Fifth Amendment's due process clause. In response to these unconstitutional edicts, Jefferson and Madison separately drafted resolutions for the individual states to take up in their legislatures to oppose the abusive acts. Jefferson's work became the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, and Madison's the Virginia Resolutions of 1798.26

In the Kentucky Resolutions, Jefferson stated "that whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force."

Madison was equally direct. In the Virginia Resolutions, he declared that "the powers of the federal government" are "limited by the plain sense and intention" of the Constitution "and that in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the states who are parties thereto, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them."

In maintaining that the states were "duty bound, to interpose," Madison was standing on a long legal tradition dating back to the Magna Charta when England's nobles demanded that King John honor the rights of Englishmen or be deposed.

Reformation leaders such as John Knox traced the doctrine of interposition to a time far earlier than the events at Runnymeade in 1215 to the period of Israel's kings as recorded in the Old Testament.27 Examining the Scriptures, Knox observed that when higher civil magistrates break covenant with God or the people, they can be legitimately challenged by lower magistrates and even deposed, if necessary, as occurred when Maachah, mother of Asa, was dethroned as Queen of Judah,28 and when Jehoiada took steps to depose Queen Athaliah and appoint Joash in her stead.29

With these and other Biblical texts as a backdrop, Knox urged the nobles in Scotland to interpose on key occasions against the unlawful edicts of Scotland's queen, Mary Guise, and later against the civil covenant-breaking of her daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots. An excerpt from this 1558 letter from Knox to Scotland's nobles is illustrative of his outlook concerning the Biblical duty of lower magistrates to interpose in response to tyranny:

Now if your king is a ... persecutor of Christ's members: shall you be excused, if with silence you pass over his iniquity? Be not deceived, my lords. You are placed in authority for another purpose than to flatter your king in his folly and blind rage ... by your gravity, counsel, and admonition, you are bound to correct and repress whatsoever you know him to attempt expressly repugning to God's word, honour, glory, or what you shall espy him to do ... against his subjects great or small.30

French Huguenots who lived contemporary with Knox embraced the Biblical doctrine of interposition as well,31 and seven years after the Scottish reformer's death, a Huguenot leader writing under the pseudonym "Brutus" penned Vindiciae, Contra Tyrrannos32 which became a classic treatment on interposition later read by numerous leading patriots in America, including Thomas Jefferson.33

The doctrine of interposition came to the fore during America's feud with Britain, and Black's Law Dictionary gives this helpful definition of it, framed within the context of the U. S. constitutional system:

The doctrine that a state, in the exercise of its sovereignty, may reject a mandate of the federal government deemed to be unconstitutional or to exceed the powers delegated to the federal government. The concept is based on the 10th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States reserving to the states powers not delegated to the United States. Implementation of the doctrine may be peaceable, as by resolution, remonstrance or legislation, or may proceed ultimately to nullification with forcible resistance.34

Thus, Jefferson and Madison weren't firing half-cocked when they took on the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798. The two were hardly rogue constitutional theorists, being among the primary architects of America's documents of freedom-the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution.35 And when they called for individual states to reject unconstitutional usurpations of liberty by the federal government and interpose in defense of their citizens, they affirmed the Biblical doctrine of interposition which foundation had been laid thousands of years before.

No Rest against Tyranny: Time to Contend for God's Law

Thankfully, the conflict over the Alien and Sedition Acts ended when Jefferson was elected President in 1800, and these unconstitutional laws expired.

The fight against TSA abuse may not be won so quickly. It has been a year and a half since the TSA began their frontal assault on the personal dignity of Americans, and thus far, efforts to stop their invasive screenings have fallen short.

The most notable attempt of interposition took place in 2011 when State Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview) introduced a bill in the Texas legislature that would have prohibited TSA agents from touching the private parts of travelers without probable cause, affirming the Fourth Amendment's guarantee against unreasonable searches.

The bill passed the Texas house by a unanimous vote of 137-0, and was set to pass overwhelmingly in the State Senate until an attorney with the U. S. Department of Justice threatened to shut down all air traffic to and from Texas airports, if the bill went into effect-one of the most outrageous pronouncements of tyranny in America to be made in modern times. Regrettably, the Texas State Senators were spooked by Washington's bully tactics, and the bill died on the last day of the regular session.36

When Gov. Rick Perry later called for a follow-up special session, he delayed in green-lighting the anti-groping bill,37 and when it was finally reintroduced, the Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House sought to gut the bill of its teeth and employed stall tactics to ensure that time ran out before it could be called for a final vote.38

Such a hard defeat should not prompt lovers of liberty to disengage and give way to statist invasions of personal privacy. Quitting this battle is not an option, else God's law will be spurned and our loves ones shamed. Tyranny does not rest, and neither should Christians, until TSA abuse is checked at the Constitution's gate.

Love for God's law and our family's wellbeing should compel us to take action-to follow the charge of this wise proverb: "They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them" (Proverbs 28:4).

1. Ben Mutzabaugh, "TSA Under Fire for Enhanced Patdown of 6-year-old Girl," USA Today, April 13, 2011.

2. "85-Year-Old Grandmother to Sue TSA after Strip Search at JFK Airport," Fox News article, Dec. 3, 2011.

3. See November 24, 2010 press release on "ACLU Reports More than 900 Complaints This Month Over ‘Enhanced' TSA Security Measures."

4. All quotes from the Bible used in this article are from the Authorized Version, unless otherwise noted.

5. R. J. Rushdoony, Deuteronomy (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 2008), 389-390.

6. Prov. 5:19, Song of Solomon, Heb. 13:4.

7. The full account can be found in Luke 8:26-35.

8. Jeff Pollard, Christian Modesty and the Public Undressing of America (Pensacola, FL: Chapel Library, 2000), 11.

9. Lael and Sarah Weinberger, "Airport Security, Nakedness, and Authority, Part 2," published on Lael and Sarah are to be thanked for their research which contributed several helpful quotes for this article.

10. Herbert Spencer, The Principles of Sociology, Vol. II (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1883), 128-129.

11. See Eze. 16:39; Eze. 23:9-10, 29; Isa. 47:3; Nah. 3:5.

12. Verse 8 taken from the Revised Standard Version.

13. Bruce K. Waltke, "Commentary on Micah," The Minor Prophets: An Exegetical Commentary, ed. by Thomas Edward McComiskey (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2009), 646.

14. Emphasis added. Excerpted from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible.

15. Corrie Ten Boom describes the weekly "medical inspection" she and other prisoners were forced to endure under Nazi control: "The hospital corridor in which we waited was unheated, and a fall chill had settled into the walls. Still we were forbidden even to wrap ourselves in our own arms, but had to maintain our erect, hands-at-sides position as we filed slowly past a phalanx of grinning guards. How there could have been any pleasure in the sight of these stick-thin legs and hunger-bloated stomachs I could not imagine ... Nor could I see the necessity for the complete undressing: when we finally reached the examining room a doctor looked down each throat, another-a dentist presumably-at our teeth, a third in between each finger. And that was all. We trooped again down the long, cold corridor and picked up our X-marked dresses at the door." Cited in Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place (Carmel, NY: Guideposts, 1971), 178.

16. Robert H. Jackson, "Opening Address at the Nuremburg Trials," Nuremburg, Germany, November 21, 1945.

17. Brinegar v. United States, 338 U.S. 160, 180 [1949].

18. Britain's violations against the personal privacy rights of American colonists only grew more severe after Otis's speech, leading to a formal break with England in 1776. One of the key abuses raised against King George III in the Declaration of Independence is telling: "He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people ..."

19. Mo McGowan in November 2010 Fox News interview.

20. A great turn of phrase used by New York Times columnist Roger Cohen in his November 25, 2010 article critiquing the TSA, "The Real Threat to America." Cohen also remarked, "When a government has a right to invade the bodies of its citizens, security has trumped freedom."

21. In commenting on the tyranny perpetrated by Peter I and Catherine I of Russia, French observer Le Marquis de Custine remarked, "Despotism is never a greater menace than when it claims to do good ... it excuses its most revolting acts by its intentions; and evil posing as a remedy has no limits." Le Marquis de Custine, La Russie en 1839, IV, 436-437.

22. William Pitt, Speech in the House of Commons, November 18, 1783.

23. Benjamin Franklin wrote the following in a November 11, 1755 letter to Pennsylvania Governor Robert Morris: "Those who would give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, ed. Leonard W. Labaree, Vol. 6 (1963), 242.

24. Papers of James Madison 17:242.

25. In a May 3, 1798 letter, James Madison stated this to Thomas Jefferson: "Perhaps it is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to provisions against danger, real or pretended from abroad." Papers of James Madison 17:130.

26. One of the most helpful recent works which puts Jefferson and Madison's 1798 resolutions into context is: Thomas E. Woods, Jr., Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 2010).

27. Richard Greaves provides an in-depth discussion of John Knox's Biblical perspective on interposition and lawful resistance in his book, Theology & Revolution in the Scottish Reformation: Studies in the Thought of John Knox (Washington, D.C.: Christian College Consortium, 1980). See pp. 126-156 in particular.

28. 2 Chronicles 15:1-19.

29. 2 Kings 11:1-21.

30. Excerpted from "The Appellation from the Sentence Pronounced by the Bishops and Clergy: Addressed to the Nobility and Estates of Scotland" (1558). See Select Writings of John Knox: Public Epistles, Treaties, and Expositions to the Year 1559 (Dallas, TX: Presbyterian Heritage Publications, 1995), 471-532.

31. Leading French nobles such as the Prince de Conde and Admiral Gaspard de Coligny rose up to defend the Protestants in France after the 1562 Massacre at Vassy in which more than 60 Huguenots were brutally murdered by the Duke of Guise and his soldiers at a private church gathering. This marked the beginning of the French Wars of Religion. Frenchman John Calvin, though more restrained than Knox, nonetheless affirmed the doctrine of interposition. See Greaves, pp. 129-132, for more on Calvin's outlook. French noble Theodore Beza, Calvin's successor in Geneva, wrote extensively on the doctrine of interposition. For a helpful discussion on Beza's views on the subject, see David W. Hall, The Geneva Reformation and the Founding of America (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2003), 167-181.

32. Vindiciae, Contra Tyrannos was first published in 1579. For an excellent English translation which includes extensive background and explanatory notes, see Vindiciae, Contra Tyrannos, edited and translated by George Garnett (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994).

33. In his Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America Vol. III, John Adams refers to Vindiciae, Contra Tyrannos as one of those "valuable productions" that was "frequently read" in America, and that "our present liberties have been established" on its principles.

34. Black's Law Dictionary, Fourth Edition.

35. Jefferson was the primary drafter of the Declaration of Independence, and Madison is widely heralded as the "Father of the Constitution," playing a pivotal role in both the U. S. Constitution's drafting and passage by the states.

36., May 25, 2011, Bob Unruh, "Feds to Texas: We'll Make You a ‘No-Fly' Zone."

37. On June 8, 2011, in answering a question in a telephone town hall, Gov. Perry stated that the TSA anti-groping bill was in his "policy shop" and that he was committed to adding the bill to the call of the special session of the 82nd Legislature, if it could be shown that there were enough votes in both houses to pass the measure. Yet even after Sen. Dan Patrick delivered a letter to Gov. Perry's office on June 15 assuring the governor that he had a majority of the votes to pass the bill in the Senate, and the governor's Legislative Director Ken Armbrister was assured by Rep. Simpson during the week of June 12 that he had the votes in the House, the governor took no immediate action. This prompted me to confront Gov. Perry in person at a Saturday, June 18, book-signing in New Orleans, Louisiana, and the video from our interchange was posted on YouTube. I was contacted for more than twenty interviews as a result, including three television opportunities. By the end of business day the following Monday, June 20, Gov. Perry acquiesced and green-lighted the bill. See Houston Chronicle, June 20, 2011, Joe Holley, "At Least He Got a Perry Autograph."

38. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who was responsible for stalling the Senate vote on the anti-groping bill at the end of the regular session until the DOJ distributed their threat letter (thus facilitating the death of the bill), sought to neuter the bill introduced during the special session through language he had the Texas Attorney General's office draft. On June 24, House Speaker Joe Straus abruptly adjourned proceedings for the day in his chamber with the anti-groping bill still unheard, telling the media that the measure was "nothing more than an ill-advised publicity stunt." This delay of a day effectively killed the bill, as time ran out for it to come to a final vote. See, Becca Aaronson, "Straus Calls TSA Bill ‘Publicity Stunt,'" The Texas Tribune, June 24, 2011.

  • Wesley Strackbein

Wesley Strackbein is Managing Editor of Vision Forum Ministries and the Co-Founder of, an effort designed to expose the TSA’s invasive screening policies as unconstitutional violations of the Fourth Amendment; to educate Americans about these abuses through relevant news articles, original commentary, videos, and key fact sheets; and to mobilize liberty-loving families to defend their right to be secure in their persons against unlawful searches by the TSA.

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