The Highways, Too

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

A Boing Boing commenter notes this story from September, which I’m surprised didn’t attract more attention:

Local law enforcement and federal agents conducted a checkpoint operation Tuesday afternoon in Douglas County, the Federal Air Marshal Service told the AJC.

“This is a live operation intent on deterring would-be terrorists or criminal activity,” Nelson Minerly, spokesman for the federal agency, told the AJC.

The operation created a big distraction to motorists heading eastbound on I-20 in rush hour, and many motorists let the AJC and the WSB traffic center hear about it.

But the operation, which also involves the Transportation Security Administration, is top-secret before it happens, Minerly said.

“We don’t advertise when they’re going to happen or when they’re going to be,” Minerly said.

Mostly trucks were being checked, Minerly said. Shortly before 6 p.m., nothing had been recovered in the operation, he said.

“There’s no specific threat,” Jon Allen, regional spokesman for the TSA, told the AJC.

Not sure exactly what went on here. Are these happening elsewhere? I’m fairly sure a generalized checkpoint not near the border would violate Indianapolis v. Edmond, along with a number of other Supreme Court decisions. But maybe there’s some exception if this was directed at commercial trucking. Of course, whether or not it was technically legal according to the Supreme Court is a different question than if it’s a massively intrusive policy, or even if it’s an effective security measure.

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31 Responses to “The Highways, Too”

  1. #1 |  K9kevlar | 

    Radley why would you think this would get more play?

  2. #2 |  K9kevlar | 

    Edmond specifically mentions terrorism as being out of the relm of 4th protections.

  3. #3 |  PW | 

    I’m curious about something.

    If driving is just a “privilege” conferred on us and taken away at the mercy of the government as we’re endlessly told by its bureaucrats, what was it for all those decades of cars before most states decided to require driver’s licenses?

    http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim/Summary95/dl230.pdf

  4. #4 |  JS | 

    “I’m fairly sure a generalized checkpoint not near the border would violate Indianapolis v. Edmond, along with a number of other Supreme Court decisions.”

    To paraphrase Joe Stalin, And how many divisions does the supreme court have?

  5. #5 |  Gideon Darrow | 

    @ #2 K9Kevlar:

    “Edmond specifically mentions terrorism as being out of the relm of 4th protections.”

    Not exactly. Here’s the relevant part of the opinion:

    “Of course, there are circumstances that may justify a law enforcement checkpoint where the primary purpose would otherwise, but for some emergency, relate to ordinary crime control. For example, as the Court of Appeals noted, the Fourth Amendment would almost certainly permit an ***appropriately tailored*** roadblock set up to thwart an ***imminent*** terrorist attack or to catch a dangerous criminal who is likely to flee by way of a particular route.” (emphasis added)

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=605414745192665577&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr

    Of course, this was pre-9/11. I hesitate to imagine what the Court would say about this today.

  6. #6 |  Dave Krueger | 

    You guys keep talking about the Bill of Rights, but the Bill of Rights is always superseded by a “compelling interest” on the part of the state. In other words, the Fourth Amendment only matters when the government doesn’t have an immediate excuse for it not to matter. The three balanced branches of our government have collectively determined that the war on terror provides all compelling interest required to take a big ol’ steamy dump on the Constitution anytime it pleases. And every couple years we hold a contest to select the most spineless, ethically bankrupt, intellectually vacant individuals in the country and send them to Washington DC to execute the aforementioned act of defecation, which they willingly do with unparalleled gusto.

    While it may be difficult for us to appreciate it now, this will ultimately define our legacy in the history textbooks of future civilizations where our “Great American Experiment” will be commemorated in a footnote as a brief hiccup in the inevitable evolution of man’s iron dominance over other men.

  7. #7 |  Gideon Darrow | 

    @#4 JS:

    “To paraphrase Joe Stalin, And how many divisions does the supreme court have?”

    To paraphrase Andrew Jackson [or at least the quote attributed to him (http://books.google.com/books?id=NCOEYJ0q-DUC&printsec=frontcover&hl=en#v=onepage&q=enforce&f=false)]: “Sandra Day O’Connor has made her decision, now let her enforce it!”

  8. #8 |  K9kevlar | 

    Gideon the DHS has so tailored the checkpoints.

  9. #9 |  JS | 

    Yea that’s what I was meaning too. Honestly when the cops do something that the supreme court says they can’t who’s gonna stop them?

  10. #10 |  Gideon Darrow | 

    @ #8 K9Kevlar:

    “Gideon the DHS has so tailored the checkpoints.”

    Maybe so. But even assuming that’s true, the opinion refers to roadblocks set up to thwart an ***imminent*** terrorist attack, not just your everyday, garden variety post-9/11 fear of terrorism. Like I said, a court reviewing this kind of checkpoint today would probably be much more inclined to approve it, but they wouldn’t be able to hang their hat on Edmond (barring some very “creative” interpretation, of course).

  11. #11 |  K9kevlar | 

    Gideon remember it is not if but when. Court may not hang the hat on Edmond but there is the diverse and always evolving needs of society clause.

  12. #12 |  Cynical in CA | 

    Radley, you made Becky Akers very, very mad. Please report to her office immediately.

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/71905.html#more-71905

  13. #13 |  BamBam | 

    Becky Ayers does make a valid point and I think it is worthwhile to respond with data. If her assertion is correct, then Radley you have either changed your tune to suit the times (doesn’t seem likely), or you have changed your opinion on TSA due to contemplation of the issue (more likely). It is also possible that she is mischaracterizing the issue.

  14. #14 |  Cynical in CA | 

    I like that the rule of law is demonstrated to be the myth that it is.

    There is no check on the power of the sovereign. It cannot be otherwise.

    Dave K. ftw, as usual. Damn Dave, give someone else a chance for once.

  15. #15 |  Cynical in CA | 

    BamBam, we both know (as do other long-timers here) that Radley walks a tightrope between statism and anti-statism. It’s extremely difficult to keep one’s balance on a tightrope — though to his credit, lately he has developed a stronger brand of anti-statism. Anti-statism is evolutionary — it takes time to sever the umbilical cord. None of us is perfect. Recent events seem to be catalyzing general anti-statism. To what ultimate effect, we’ll soon find out.

  16. #16 |  K9kevlar | 

    Cynical what the fuck planet are you living on? Recent events like the DHS at the Mall of America? Statism is all the rage these days. This anti-statism you speak of truly is a isolated incident.

  17. #17 |  Matt | 

    “If driving is just a “privilege” conferred on us and taken away at the mercy of the government as we’re endlessly told by its bureaucrats, what was it for all those decades of cars before most states decided to require driver’s licenses?”

    Similarly, whose permission was required to own and use vehicles for the decades before registration was imposed?:
    http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim/Summary95/mv230.pdf

  18. #18 |  K9kevlar | 

    Matt I can not answer your question about the before times. But we can sing along about the future. . . See the TSA in your Chevrolet. . .

  19. #19 |  Cynical in CA | 

    Thanks for bringing me back to the home planet, K9. I guess the rumors of general uppityness by the people were unfounded.

  20. #20 |  K9kevlar | 

    Cynical the people who are exhibiting uppityness today are the same ones who will be alarmed when they find out the showers at the TSA delousing stations do not have drains. Like those uppity fucking jews back in the Warsaw ghetto.

  21. #21 |  K9kevlar | 

    Don Kostyu was known to say something about taking action when the cattle cars were rolling and they came goose stepping down his street. In the 21st century they use busses not trains to roundup and relocate hundreds. The time has long passed for people to get uppity and push back. Deep down inside the people know it is too late.

  22. #22 |  C.E. | 

    People realize they already have generalized checkpoints in the United States, right? They’re euphemistically called “immigration checkpoints”, and they’re not even close to the border. Granted, they’re closer to the border than, say, Kansas, but they’re still an hour or two away from the actual border. To get around Fourth Amendment problems (snicker), they pretend that their primary purpose is to make sure illegal immigrants don’t get into the country (snort). The fact that they run drug detection dogs around vehicles is just ancillary to their primary purpose, immigration (chortle). Never mind that they’re accompanied by signs proclaiming the amount of drugs they’ve seized at them. Or that they have cameras that take the picture of vehicles, their drivers, and their license plates as they pass the checkpoints on the way SOUTH, with technology to ID any vehicle that passes by the checkpoint. This is all just to make sure that there aren’t any undocumented immigrants in the country (guffaw).

  23. #23 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Radley will go full anti-state soon. He might even admit it. ;-)

  24. #24 |  albatross | 

    CE:

    Yeah. Oddly, despite the ability to set up immigration checkpoints hundreds of miles from the border, there are still millions of illegal immigrants living here, mostly pretty much openly (and peaceably) going about their business. Why, it’s almost like immigration control is simply an excuse to exercise more power or something.

  25. #25 |  cobaco | 

    “I’m fairly sure a generalized checkpoint not near the border would violate Indianapolis v. Edmond, along with a number of other Supreme Court decisions.”

    you forget, they redifined ‘border’ as anywhere within 100 miles of the actual border a while back.

  26. #26 |  BSK | 

    Isn’t a “would-be terrorist” just, ya know, a person? Are we developing “pre-crime” like in “Minority Report”? Obviously, there are criminal activities that one can partake in before engaging in specific acts of terrorism. But, as such, they are criminals… not “would-be terrorists”. This is just another way the term “terrorist” is used to justify the denial of rights to citizens.

  27. #27 |  JOR | 

    “There is no check on the power of the sovereign. It cannot be otherwise.”

    Theoretically. But for practical purposes, there is no true Hobbesian sovereign. And it cannot be otherwise.

    There’s just a bunch of goons who are pretty good at getting their way by force and convincing a lot of other people it’s okay.

    Everything is against the law these days. And yet, not everyone is in prison. Not even all the people who do things the state really hates (like evade taxes). Things will get worse before they get better, and things may never get better. But no matter how powerful the state gets, the sovereign is as much a myth as the rule of law.

  28. #28 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “This is a live operation intent on deterring would-be terrorists or criminal activity,” Nelson Minerly, spokesman for the federal agency, told the AJC.

    Wake up people, those “innocent” truckers you see
    are actually hauling ammo and WMD’s, cleverly disguised as fruit, lumber, and furniture out to their
    clandestine Mosques and terror camps out in the hills. The CB airwaves
    are full of secret codes supportingt this agenda.
    Hint — “Big Daddy” refers to Osama, acting Chief in their plot
    against America.

  29. #29 |  Charlie O | 

    When are you people going to get it?? Every last stinking one of you is probable terrorist or criminal until you can prove otherwise. And even then, we have our doubts.

  30. #30 |  Evans | 

    TSA on Colorado Ski Slopes

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    [...] The Highways, Too | The Agitator [...]

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