Texas takes on the TSA: The Constitutional Fight over Airport Security

Texas takes on the TSA: The Constitutional Fight over Airport Security Abstract Since 9/11, air transportation has been one of the most important and closely watched areas of homeland security under federal control. Despite this centralization of authority, some states have begun to question some of the policies enacted by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). In 2011, Texas passed legislation that would have criminalized TSA officers for carrying out such policies, specifically enhanced pat downs of airport travelers. In light of threats from the Department of Justice, Texas ultimately backed down from the legislation, but the legal arguments made by participants on both sides remain relevant to future conflicts between state and federal authority on homeland security. The events in Texas are particularly interesting because they make public the tension between citizen preferences for security and civil liberties, highlighting the role of federalism in the homeland security domain. Using legal analysis, we find that federal power in the realm of aviation security given by the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause is less clear-cut than generally argued. Therefore, Texas’ attempt to assert its authority in this domain was not necessarily legally unsound. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management de Gruyter

Texas takes on the TSA: The Constitutional Fight over Airport Security

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 by the
ISSN
2194-6361
eISSN
1547-7355
DOI
10.1515/jhsem-2012-0068
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract Since 9/11, air transportation has been one of the most important and closely watched areas of homeland security under federal control. Despite this centralization of authority, some states have begun to question some of the policies enacted by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). In 2011, Texas passed legislation that would have criminalized TSA officers for carrying out such policies, specifically enhanced pat downs of airport travelers. In light of threats from the Department of Justice, Texas ultimately backed down from the legislation, but the legal arguments made by participants on both sides remain relevant to future conflicts between state and federal authority on homeland security. The events in Texas are particularly interesting because they make public the tension between citizen preferences for security and civil liberties, highlighting the role of federalism in the homeland security domain. Using legal analysis, we find that federal power in the realm of aviation security given by the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause is less clear-cut than generally argued. Therefore, Texas’ attempt to assert its authority in this domain was not necessarily legally unsound.

Journal

Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Managementde Gruyter

Published: Apr 19, 2013

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