Ventura vs. DHS & TSA

Jesse Ventura is suing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration for violating his rights.

The former governor was patted down by a TSA agent in November and he says his “basic rights to privacy and dignity, and his right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures” were violated.

Read the whole complaint.


Wes Scott

about 13 years ago

He has a good point. I don't believe they are preventing anything but taking more of our rights away. If somebody wants to do an act of terrorism, I'm guessing they aren't going to be stopped by some low-wage screener. But perhaps they are promoting piece of mind and making us feel secure? Even if it ain't so?


about 13 years ago

I gotta say I am pretty critical of the TSA & DHS, but I don't think there is a guaranteed right to fly.


about 13 years ago

Flying is a privilege, not a right.


about 13 years ago

Sure, flying is a right. I'm no constitutional scholar, but the entire purpose/theme of the document is to spell out everything that is the (federal) government's business, then to spell out which basic human rights (in the writers' opinions) are so inviolable that no form of government should interfere. Then, just to be clear, it says in the 9th and 10th amendments that, hey, everything we didn't mention is a right of the people or other forms of government - not the federal. Flying fits in that everything else category.

I think more specifically in this case, the 4th is applicable. TSA and DHS are government entities. Since when does any government entity get to search me or my possessions without probable cause and a warrant? It would be different if they were searching you before you entered a courthouse; the courthouse is a location managed/controlled by some government entity; they get to set the terms for entry. But, airports are (usually) municipally or state owned/controlled and TSA/DHS are federal authorities. And, they're not searching you before you enter the airport. They're searching you as a term of admittance onto a privately owned conveyance.

I've been waiting for constitutional test cases for a lot of the legal reactions to 9/11. And, I thought a test to challenge the legal authority of the TSA would happen in short order. It didn't. And, I never thought Jesse Ventura would be the tester. So, what do I know?


about 13 years ago

Ventura has a point. Searches at airports have definitely become unreasonable. They wanded my daughter at DLH when she was like 5 yrs old, for god's sakes, b/c her snowboots she was wearing set off the metal detector!

This will be fun to watch.


about 13 years ago

Flying is not a right; if you don't want to be manhandled, drive your car. You know ahead of time there is a possibility you may be searched when you go to the airport; if you think that is problem, don't go. 

I want to feel safe when I fly and if that means that I maybe checked, I have no issues with that. In the past 5 years I have been patted down, my friends carry-on checked, and been swabbed for bomb residue.


about 13 years ago

There are some interesting things to chew on regarding this topic at


about 13 years ago

"Safety & Security"

How many of our rights, how much of our dignity and how many of our dollars have slowly disappeared because of that phrase?  ...And how much further can it go?

2 Years ago, you'd never imagine that you'd have to surrender yourself to a very personal pat-down or be subject to a semi-nude photograph.

...But it's for our safety & security...

5 Yeas ago, it seemed inconceivable that you'd be required to purchase specially sized and labeled sundries to fly without a checked bag.

...But it's for our safety & security...

10 Years ago, you'd never imagine that you'd see airport security personnel make an 85 year-old grandma take her shoes off to simply go see her grandchildren.

...But it's for our safety & security...

20 Years ago, you thought that simply walking through a metal detector was a big hassle.

...But it's for our safety & security...

10 Years from now, will everyone have to strip down to their unmentionable, sit faced forward and stay very quiet during all flights?  Does that sound silly?  

...But it's for our safety & security...


about 13 years ago

Gov. Ventura's support of rights is commendable but he's wrong in this case.

Every infringement listed above is in response to a real explosion or attempt.  Pat downs started, in part, after an explosion in Saudi Arabia.  

TSA isn't interested in infringing rights.  They're tasked with making air travel as safe as reasonably can be expected against persons finding new ways to conceal explosives.

Bad Cat!

about 13 years ago

What we need is a private airline/airport that has the balls to stand up to the TSA and opt out. If a privately owned company declined government security on their private property, is there anything the TSA could really do?


about 13 years ago

And 10 years ago most people would not have thought of airliners as potential cruse missiles.

Thing is, I agree with the basic premise that the TSA is a bit out of whack. I'd actually feel better with more dogs and "boots on the ground" being observant rather than the pornoscanners and random passenger pat downs. I also think airplanes should be reconfigured so there is no access to the cockpit from the main cabin.

However, it is not illogical how we reached this spot. People are genuinely concerned for safety, and we have just gone about it in a very American technology-can-fix-everything manner. 

There are always limits to freedoms, the freedom of speech is not absolute, freedom to own guns is curtailed in some situations, and the word "unreasonable" is vague enough that different people are going to have different interpretations of it. 

As far as this case goes, Jesse is being Jesse, and this has little to do with anything except him being upset that he was singled out for screening that he doesn't like. The dude doesn't like people challenging him, never has, and his response to it has always been one of his main faults.


about 13 years ago

Bad Cat!, well given that the TSA is part of the Federal government as is the FAA, I can imagine 1) the FAA refusing to allow commercial flights to operate out of the airport, or 2) the TSA subjecting all disembarking passengers from those flights to undergo the pornoscanners/pat downs at their destination if it is domestic flight.

Paul Lundgren

about 13 years ago

I think the human body is a beautiful thing, man. Instead of calling it a porno scanner, we should call it an art scanner.


about 13 years ago

@Nodnetni - Flying is a right. Everything we may choose to do that does not infringe on the rights of others is a right. Of course, that's the libertarian in me speaking while I try to interpret the 9th and 10th amendments as broadly as possible. However, "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause..." is pretty clear. I can't see how, simply because I wish to use a privately owned conveyance, I'm giving probable cause for a federal government entity to search me.

@Bad Cat! - There's almost no such thing as a private airport. There are a some; but, I'm sure those don't have significant commercial traffic. Sanford Airport is opting out or may opt out: But, they still have to follow the same procedures with private contractors instead of TSA.

I think going to back to private screeners might (emphasis on might) be the answer. No 4th amendment issue; more accountability - ever try to fire a government employee?


about 13 years ago

First, the notion that the Federal government isn't authorized to regulate municipally or privately owned entities is ridiculous. They do so all the time. OSHA for example, regulates privately owned workplaces. The FDA regulates farms and food processing plants. DHS happens to regulate airports and the FAA happens to regulate public airspace and airplane traffic. Whether or not airports are public or private entities is completely irrelevant to the discussion.

Second, you don't have a right to demand unconditional access to services unless the constitution or law dictates you have such a right. Under what theory is the ability to enter a particular section of an airport or to board a plane without being searched a constitutionally protected right? Under some terribly misunderstood notion of liberty? Or privacy? If we do have such a right not to be searched or scanned without reasonable cause when boarding airplanes, then why are metal detectors acceptable? They to, would infringe upon the same stated right to liberty/privacy those opposing TSA's measures are purporting to uphold. And if that argument is victorious, anyone and everyone could board a plane tomorrow with guns, explosives, etc. I understand the desire to protect civil liberties, especially in light of the Bush administrations abuses after 9/11, but some people don't seem to grasp that the measures TSA is employing, while inconvenient and perturbing, are designed to protect another constitutionally protected right ... that of life.


about 13 years ago

From House information services:

Cravaack Named To Homeland Security Subcommittees

(Washington, DC) - Today, U.S. Congressman Peter T. King (NY-3), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, announced the subcommittee assignments for Republican Members.  U.S. Congressman Chip Cravaack (MN-8) was appointed to two subcommittees on the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee. Cravaack will sit on the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, and the Subcommittee on Transportation Security.

"I'm very pleased to make these subcommittee assignments," King said.  "Our new members, including Congressman Cravaack, bring to the Committee talent, energy and a steadfast commitment to securing our homeland from the terrorists who continue to plot and execute attacks against our nation.  The Subcommittees and their Members will be critical to the important work of the Committee on Homeland Security."

"Upon learning I would be serving on the Homeland Security Committee I targeted these subcommittees as two of my top choices, so it is very gratifying to have gotten them," said Cravaack.  "They focus on rooting out terrorists who are already within our borders, and dealing with protecting the transportation systems they have attempted to use - on multiple occasions - to do our nation harm.  Now more than ever we need to be proactive in how we deal with terrorists both here and abroad, because the protection of American citizens and the homeland is Congress's most important and fundamental duty.  I am excited about the opportunity to serve on these subcommittees, and I look forward to working on the vital and urgent tasks ahead of me. "

Cravaack is a 24 year retired Navy Captain, the third generation of his family to serve in the U.S. military.  He is also former commercial airline pilot with Northwest Airlines.

Congressman Cravaack also serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he is Vice Chair of the Aviation Subcommittee.  The 8th Congressional District covers 18 counties in Northeast Minnesota.


about 13 years ago


Regarding your first - yes, of course, our legal system has given the federal government the right to regulate local government or private entities (interstate commerce clause). My point (perhaps poorly made) was to indicate that if the airports or airlines were federal property (like, say, a military base) we wouldn't need to discuss any of this. They'd have a clear right to regulate terms of entry into their space without a 4th amendment (or even a 14th and implied right to privacy) discussion.

Regarding your second - I believe that I do have a right to not be searched by government authorities unless they have a warrant. For the purposes of this discussion, the question is: what constitutes a search? A metal detector? Probably not - questions about the nature of searches frequently hinge on the phrases "minimally invasive" and whether the action taken by authorities could be deemed active or passive. Metal detector probably wouldn't be called a search. Pat down might be. The new scans? Hmmm, tough one. Sounds mostly passive to me, but not what I'd call minimally invasive. I'd call it a search. If it is a search, something is going to have to change.

Perhaps a more important question, and what I think is the solution to this issue, is why not go to private screeners? There's not likely a good 4th, 14th, or any other amendment-based challenge if it's a not government (or government directed) authority doing the searching. At that point it's just a private entity controlling access to a space.

By the way, I object to the "terribly misunderstood notion of liberty" language. Unless there's a 9-0 or 7-2 Supreme Court decision on this specific topic (and I may be willing to retract my objection if there is, but maybe not, the Court isn't perfect), you're implying that your idea of liberty is superior to mine. And, to use the generalization argument you used, if protecting life is sufficient justification for any search by a government entity, we'll soon be in a police state. That's the argument used by fundamentalist, evangelical Tea Party types. See, the generalization argument isn't effective.


about 13 years ago

Now if only you guys could transfer this passion to Parallel Universes we'd be onto something here.


about 13 years ago

I urge anyone who possibly can to visit Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or any of the Emirates for a little idea of the concept of a police state.

While they may not actually be "Police States" in name, appearances often show otherwise.


about 12 years ago

Twice in the last six months I have had material confiscated by the TSA.  Once, a half drunk bottle of Mountain Dew from my son's pack, once a can of V8.

My rights have been trampled!!!

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