The One Petition You’ll Ever Need
If you know me personally, outside of the blogosphere, you know that I generally hold a dim view of online petitions. I generally don’t think they mean much, they mostly get ignored by whomever is being petitioned. However, the First Amendment provides for the people “to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” And, with the rise of sites such as Change.org and even the White House’s own petition center, petitions are slowly gaining some traction. People do pay attention, if only because they’re afraid of the PR fallout.
With that in mind, I’m here to show you the one online petition you should be caring about. It was started by the Cato Institute’s Director of Information Policy Studies Jim Haper, and it literally says: Require the Transportation Security Administration to Follow the Law!
Harper explains on Cato-At-Liberty:
A year ago this coming Sunday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ordered the Transportation Security Administration to do a notice-and-comment rulemaking on its use of Advanced Imaging Technology (aka “body-scanners” or “strip-search machines”) for primary screening at airports. (The alternative for those who refuse such treatment: a prison-style pat-down.) It was a very important ruling, for reasons I discussed in a post back then. The TSA was supposed to publish its policy in the Federal Register, take comments from the public, and issue a final rule that responds to public input.
So far, it hasn’t done any of those things.
The reason for the delay, stated in a filing with the court last year, was the complexity and expense of doing a rulemaking in this area. But CEI’s Ryan Radia, at work on a legal brief in the case, notes that The TSA has devoted substantial resources to the PreCheck program during this time, rolling it out to additional airports. How can an agency pour resources into its latest greatest project yet claim poverty when it comes to complying with the law?
Everyone—libertarians, social liberals, and conservatives—should be supportive of this. It doesn’t matter where you fall on the political spectrum (unless, perhaps, you’re an anarchist), you should be able to agree that government agencies must follow the law. For without the law, what are we but a bunch of predatory gangs?
The TSA has been rather secretive about its plans, has been rather intrusive into our physical privacy, and has a rather lackluster reputation with national security. Now it wants to get away with not following the courts, and thus ignore the public’s input.
I agree with Harper. That needs to end. Sign this petition and put some heat on the president to make the TSA obey the law like everyone else. You’ll need an email address (but there are several disposable email address providers out there) but that’s it; your ZIP code is optional.
Right now, as I’m writing this, the petition needs another 16,021 petitioners in order for it to be “official,” and it needs them by August 8th. I think we can do this. Let’s get the TSA to start obeying the law agan.
Image courtesy of InfoWars