Justice Scalia: TSA Groping is Intrusive, But it’s Necessary

Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg were being interviewed by Harvard professor and former CBS and NBC reporter Marvin Kalb. They were talking about NSA wiretapping and whether it was a violation of the 4th Amendment. Scalia argued that it wasn’t really, because the 4th Amendment only protects our persons, our houses and our effects; it doesn’t protect our conversations.

He said he didn’t even think the Supreme Court should be deciding those things anyway. He said they were the least qualified group of people to make such a decision. Both the Congress and the Executive branches know more about those issues than the Supreme Court. He might be right, but we have separation of powers for a purpose. We don’t want the Congress making these decisions for everyone, and we certainly don’t want the White House making these decisions.

They have no excuse to render bad opinions. If these justices had principles and stuck to them, they’d be more effective in their jobs. If they’re unqualified, then maybe they should step down.

Here was Scalia’s response to Kalb about whether or not the NSA’s wiretapping practices were unconstitutional:

“No, because it’s not absolute. As Ruth has said there are very few freedoms that are absolute. I mean your person is protected by the Fourth Amendment but as I pointed out when you board a plane someone can pass his hands all over your body. That’s a terrible intrusion, but given the danger that it’s guarding against it’s not an unreasonable intrusion. And it can be the same thing with acquiring this data that is regarded as effects. That’s why I say its foolish to have us make the decision because I don’t know how serious the danger is in this NSA stuff, I really don’t.”

So, since the purported motive for the TSA’s groping is “national security,” they should be allowed to do whatever they want to people, even in violation of the 4th Amendment. It’s all to ensure people’s safety.

When a cop orders colonoscopies and enemas on stop sign violators absent any reasonable suspicion or probable cause, that should be allowed because of the “danger it’s guarding against.” If these justices think that all that is needed to justify violations of the Constitution is saying that it’s for “safety,” then I’d definitely agree that they’re not at all qualified to have an official opinion.