A Kansas state representative along with 20 other state legislators has proposed a bill that would limit what TSA agents can do to airline passengers in Kansas airports. Representative Brett Hildabrand’s bill makes it illegal for TSA screeners to touch passengers’ private parts and prohibits them from removing passengers under 18 from the control of their parents or guardians. Hildabrand had this to say about the TSA:
“Air travelers are subjected to aggressive, humiliating pat-downs, many of which would land the average stranger off the street in jail. But because the federal government has given someone a blue uniform and a badge, we are told that person has authority over our bodies and we must endure.”
Critics are saying that states don’t have jurisdiction over a federal agency like the TSA because of the so-called “Supremacy Clause,” found in Article VI of the Constitution:
“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding [emphasis added].”
Federal laws that are consistent with the Constitution do have supremacy, because the Constitution is the law of the land. But nowhere in the Constitution does it give the federal government authority to take over the healthcare industry. Nor does it give the feds authority to take over airline “security.” So those laws should be treated as invalid by the states. They’re unconstitutional.
And this is where nullification comes in. That isn’t just some racist quip. States should be able to act independently and make their own laws (under the 10th Amendment) without being harassed by an over-reaching federal government. They should have the authority to nullify bad laws in the same way that jurors can nullify bad laws.
Several states have already proposed bills that would nullify Obamacare and would criminalize any attempt by a federal agent to enforce Obamacare in that state. Under some of those bills, federal agents would be imprisoned.
This TSA bill in Kansas is basically the same thing, except that it doesn’t even go that far. It merely prohibits the more extreme “security” measures that the TSA employ. It’s a step in the right direction.
This isn’t the first time a state has sought to place restrictions on the TSA. Texas tried it, and the Department of Justice threatened to turn Texas into a no-fly zone if it passed the law. Texas then backed off. They shouldn’t have. If states are going to pass these laws, they should be prepared to fight with the feds, and they shouldn’t back down. I hope Kansas doesn’t back down, and then I hope other states follow through.