I recently wrote here about constitutional limitations on the new Transportation Security Administration (TSA) strip and grope procedures. They subject us to the sorts of governmental control the Constitution was intended to prevent and violate Fourth Amendment prohibitions in ways highly up close and personal. Some illumination, albeit indirect, is shed by the Supreme Court's 1968 decision in Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), the essence of which is that a search of one's person must be reasonable and no more intrusive or degrading than the circumstances mandate. Searches shocking to ordinary human sensibilities fail to meet that test.
President Obama, whose public approval has reached a new low of thirty-nine percent, and his administration are under fire and are
belatedly grasping the political liabilities from the TSA screening uproar, but seem to have few options in dealing with the problem.
The new talking point word from the White House on the controversy is "balance" — with the suggestion that the Transportation Safety Administration would keep the same policies but look for ways to demonstrate more sensitivity. …
The consensus in the administration seems to be that the Department of Homeland Security didn't do a good enough job of getting out in front of this story and communicating to travelers. This is the default position for the administration when political troubles arise: The product was fine, but the marketing was poor.