Third Party & Independents Archives

Judge Stands Up For Civil Liberties

Since September 11th the constant talk of the next terrorist threat has seemed to go on nonstop. Thousands, if not millions, of Americans seem to have bought into the tactics of terror. Yet, one judge has not.

Since September 11th the National Football League (NFL) has had the strictest policies regarding security to 'protect' against terrorism. These policies have included complete 'pat-downs' of every ticket holder attending a game. However this policy may be over.

Recently U.S. District Court Judge James D Whittemore ruled that these 'pat-downs' of all fans are unconstitutional and unreasonable, and in violation of the fourth amendment to the United States constitution. Judge Whittemore ruled on the case involving a season ticket holder in Tampa Bay who sued claiming the searches were unreasonable (1). These measures had recently been implemented last year, and are unique to the NFL as the NBA, MLB and NHL have no such policies.

This issue is far from over, as the ruling will almost certainly be contested. Moreover pat downs will likely still occur at the other thirty one NFL stadiums this year, yet at least for now this judge did the right thing.
1. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14080890/

Posted by Richard Rhodes at July 31, 2006 11:51 PM
Comments
Comment #172467

If a true ‘alliance’ will ever be formed between the Green Party and the Libertarian Party, as many among many in the third column have suggested it is going to have too revolve around Civil Liberties, this is the one issue that the two parties could really stand together on in my view.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at August 1, 2006 12:10 AM
Comment #172472

We don’t mind searches when we get on a plane.
Is there a difference?
Maybe.
You can’t hijaak and fly a stadium into a building.
Snipers?
That could happen on any street, any time.
Bomb?
Hmmmmmm. Perfect place for a bomb.
Just the panic alone will kill plenty?

The real problem is that the security, in many case, is ineffective and incompetent. People with guns and other weapons somehow still make it onto airlines.

But, can we afford to not have that security?

The bad part is, when something bad happens, government abuses the situation, but trying to use it as an opportunity to spy on people. That’s very strange, when they allow the borders and ports to be wide open.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 1, 2006 12:42 AM
Comment #172473

Just to clarify:
While this could, hopefully, be the end to illegal pat-downs of all ticket holders there would still be metal detectors so thus security measures would still exist.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at August 1, 2006 12:45 AM
Comment #172475

Is ths a government required pat down? I thought it was the NFl and caterer who (private corporations) required this pat down.

Posted by: j2t2 at August 1, 2006 1:00 AM
Comment #172476

j2t2:
The NFL implemented this pat down policy. Yet, importantly, nearly all NFL stadiums are subsidized with at least some percentage of public funding.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at August 1, 2006 1:15 AM
Comment #172481

Richard,
If the government did not require this pat down then it seems to be more of a corporate shakedown than a government intrusion into privacy rights.

Posted by: j2t2 at August 1, 2006 1:51 AM
Comment #172482

Richard, how many posts before some far right type brings up judicial activism?

Posted by: j2t2 at August 1, 2006 1:55 AM
Comment #172484

Oh I fully expected ‘some far right type’ to bring up judicial activism. But if we allow these pat downs of all ticketholders without any reason, whats next? Maybe next the NFL would decide deep full cavity searches? Where do we draw the line. No to pat downs without reason, and definitely no to full cavity searches.

Hey maybe if these far right types get their way whenever you enter a store at a mall your anus has to be searched to ‘protect us from terrorism’, than we would all be safe, right? Yeah right.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at August 1, 2006 2:13 AM
Comment #172490
We don’t mind searches when we get on a plane.

Speak for yourself. Random searches and forced removal of shoes is ineffective and idiotic.

A better solution would be to check every ticket holder against a unified terrorist watch list. It’s been five years now. Any idea when that simple measure will be implemented?

Posted by: American Pundit at August 1, 2006 3:26 AM
Comment #172493

American Pundit- Exactly. Moreover as this should be apparent to anyone, the NFL’s measures go beyond the airlines measures. We don’t have ‘pat-downs’ of everyone who goes on a plane, and we shouldn’t, so why in the hell does this happen to everyone who goes to an NFL game. The airlines don’t do it, the NHL doesn’t do it, the MLB doesn’t do it, the NBA doesn’t do it, the MLS doesn’t do it, so why oh why is the NFL so damn special!

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at August 1, 2006 3:54 AM
Comment #172502

OK, my third party favorites, the Middle East is on fire and the Bush administration is handling it terribly while the Dems seem to support Hizbollah.

WHERE IS THE 3rd PARTY BLOGGER ON THIS FOR US?

Posted by: Steve C. at August 1, 2006 7:37 AM
Comment #172515

Steve C. the following “the Dems seem to support Hizbollah” is certainly not the impression I have from reading US opinion in several newspapers and following US news online.

Perhaps you are thinking in terms of binary opposites…whereby any criticism of Israel for the deaths of 750 civilians and injury to 3,500 others and displacement of 7,000 people and destruction of Lebanese infrastructure coupled with criticism of the attack on Qana, estimated to have killed about 60 civilians, many of them children, must be support for Hizbollah.

An unfortunately narrow-minded view, I have seen criticism of civilian deaths caused by both sides. The US is very much pro-Israeli, check out the letters section of the NY Times, the criticism of Israel by US news sources is at best muted at worst it reveals a double-standard, are the lives of Lebanese civilians just worth less than those of Israelis? Or is all life valuable, every death should be mourned, I see no double standard in the latter view.

Posted by: abhcoide at August 1, 2006 9:14 AM
Comment #172516

Actually, I have yet to hear an American democrat politician criticize Israel in the context of the current invasion of Lebanon and air-strikes. If they have the media hasn’t reported it. Even your doves are hawkish. The militarization of America is alarming.

News media certainly hasn’t been eager to state the obvious, civilian deaths=bad, regardless of who does it.

Posted by: abhcoide at August 1, 2006 9:17 AM
Comment #172523
Actually, I have yet to hear an American democrat politician criticize Israel in the context of the current invasion of Lebanon and air-strikes.

Really? Have you read the threads here? It seems to me supporting Israel’s ability to defend itself against Hezbollah has been the ONE important issue both sides agree on. There is a lunatic fringe on both sides - those that don’t support war in any circumstance and those who don’t support Jews in any circumstances, but from what I’ve seen there is large amount of bi-partisan agreement.

As anyone on this board will tell you - I’m a Democrat.

Posted by: Max at August 1, 2006 9:59 AM
Comment #172526

Whoops. I thought you said no Democrats were supporting Israel. :-)

No - I haven’t heard any criticize them either, but I think that’s because they are not doing anything that can be criticized.

Posted by: Max at August 1, 2006 10:32 AM
Comment #172529

I am not sure if it Civil Liberties or not. I don’t agree they should have a pat down, but the Team is a private organization(company), that allows you to purchase tickets to the game, if part of the requirement is a pat down, when you buy the ticket you agree to it.
If you do not agree to it then you do not have to attend, and if you do not allow it, they do not have to allow you in.
I have a feeling if this goes higher it will be overturned.

Steve C: as a person who votes mostly Democratic, I don’t know where you got your info, but I support Israel, and I hope they continue to tell the rest of the world(to include BUSH), to kiss their ass, that they have taken enough and now going to KICK ASS.

Posted by: KT at August 1, 2006 10:35 AM
Comment #172535

Richard,

I sure hope the Libertarians do not form an alliance with the Greens as a watered down(with the Green’s love of big government) adherence to our Constitution is what we have already. As far as the “pat down” question, we have far bigger civil liberty problems, i.e. Kelo and “No-Knock”.

Posted by: BAWDYSCOT at August 1, 2006 10:53 AM
Comment #172536

As far as Israel is concerned, I think everyone should butt out and let em go at it. War is never pretty and the non combatants have had plenty of time to leave.

Posted by: BAWDYSCOT at August 1, 2006 10:56 AM
Comment #172539
While this could, hopefully, be the end to illegal pat-downs of all ticket holders there would still be metal detectors so thus security measures would still exist.

Richard:

This judge is perhaps the most absent-minded, disillusioned civil servant in America today. Metal detectors are inferior to improved technology that has the ability to mask the weapon, so more is needed based on that fact alone.

But moreover, we’re not talking about patting down people to enter the local supermarket, we’re talking about pat-downs for people entering high-risk, densely populated tourist/entertainment attractions such as stadiums. Different circumstances call for different protective measures…eradicating pat-downs in stadiums would jeopardize the well-being of millions of Americans.

But don’t jump to conclusions, b/c I can feel what’s coming next. You’ll squabble something about pandora’s box and how one thing leads to another and how pretty soon we’ll be getting our DNA tested and having to leave a stool sample just to enter a stadium…and I’ll tell you that anyone who believes our current Republican government would engage in any grossly fascist acts is sipping Daily Kos’ venomous Kool-Aid.

Posted by: Alex Fitzsimmons at August 1, 2006 11:20 AM
Comment #172542
Maybe next the NFL would decide deep full cavity searches? Where do we draw the line. No to pat downs without reason, and definitely no to full cavity searches.

Richard:

The aforementioned characterizes a position prominent amongst the blatantly misinformed Democratic Party, a party that hardly comprehends basic economic theory, evident in their nationalistic, government-regulated approach to economics and this quote.

If the NFL ever instigated protective measures such as full-cavity searches, a rapid decline in casual fan attendance would almost instantaneously ensue, culminating in rapid capital loss…and remember, the NFL is still a business. Sports executives are too smart to instigate such ill-conceived measures, not b/c they care so much about civil liberties, but b/c they care so much about lining their pockets…

…See, greed isn’t always a bad thing…

Posted by: Alex Fitzsimmons at August 1, 2006 11:31 AM
Comment #172548

Alex,

It is not a “Pandora’s box” it is a slippery slope and that slope has been greased by the Republicans in power. Once they send the Democrats down that slope they will be coming for us(Libertarians).

Posted by: BAWDYSCOT at August 1, 2006 11:58 AM
Comment #172572

d.a.n
The real problem is that the security, in many case, is ineffective and incompetent. People with guns and other weapons somehow still make it onto airlines.

The problem is not everyone goes through the metal detectors before boarding a plane. You have maintenance personnel, the flight crews, and a number of other folks that can get on a plane even before the passengers do. These folks aren’t searched and don’t go through metal detectors before getting on the planes.
With the type of security that one has to pass trough to enter a jail or prison, loaded guns are still found in them from time to time. How is a plane going be anymore secure?

Posted by: Ron Brown at August 1, 2006 1:16 PM
Comment #172574

Border Officials work for the U.S. Government. Airport security screeners work for the government as well. Unless the NFL has secretly signed a cooperation agreement with the Department of the Inerior, FBI, CIA, or NSA, I don’t see how this is anything more that a private organization presuming to set security standards within the borders of a country that should already be being protected.

Posted by: DOC at August 1, 2006 1:17 PM
Comment #172601

This is kinda silly. Music concerts have been patting down people for years to ensure they don’t bring in cameras or recording devices.

Unreasonable search in relation to the constitution is from the government doing this unvoluntarily to you.

Clearly the NFL is a private entity and something you choose to attend and therefore they can make the terms of admittance whatever they want.

This judge isn’t standing up for civil liberties, he’s infinging on the NFLs freedom from government interference (and he’s wasting our tax dollars with a frivilous ruling).

Posted by: Redlenses at August 1, 2006 3:38 PM
Comment #172634

The question I believe that should be asked is this. Does the government have the right to regulate the attendance policies of a company. Nearly all major corporations have metal detectors. When will this be deemed unreasonable?

It is not a violation of civil liberties. You are going to a private event in a privatly owned building. No one is forcing you to go to this event. I would assume that people would be championing these activities. They are not searching by race or ethnicity. They are searching everyone.

Often I frequent concerts. I have yet to attend one in which (excluding local and underground) in which do not have security wanding all people entering. Even at WWE events this is common practice. But no this guy gets bent out of shape becuase he needs to stand in line for an extra few minutes. Can you say frivilous lawsuit.

Posted by: Anthony at August 1, 2006 6:27 PM
Comment #172646

Again while the NFL is private, nearly every stadium was paid for at least in part by public funds.

And on the off subject of Israel, the Green Party has taken a stance on the current conflict:
http://www.gp.org/action/index.shtml
http://www.gp.org/press/pr_2006_07_12.shtml
http://www.gp.org/press/pr_2006_07_20.shtml

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at August 1, 2006 7:17 PM
Comment #172665

And while the Israelis are keeping our government informed of their plans we still cannot control their actions in totality. Also, what are the Green’s thoughts on the actions of Hezbollah, the actual instigators. As much as I have not defended Israel much in the past, I cannot believe they would have undertaken these actions without provocation.

Posted by: BAWDYSCOT at August 1, 2006 8:02 PM
Comment #172714

I’m have to come down on the side with the folks who think this judge is a nutcase. The way I see it, if you go out into public, especially into an entertainment venue, you to some extent forfeit your right to privacy.

In the interest of full disclosure, I think most pro and college athletes are overpaid prima donnas, hence I rarely shell out my own money to go see them in person, hence I am unlikely to need to choose between being patted down or not seeing a football game.

My opinion is, if you don’t like the security arrangements at the sporting event or the concert, then don’t go - nobody is forcing you to go see the pro football game if you don’t want to be patted down. It’s really very simple.

I think your comments belong to the left of 3rd Party and Independents, Richard Rhodes.

Posted by: crazy_joe_divola at August 1, 2006 11:45 PM
Comment #172825
A better solution would be to check every ticket holder against a unified terrorist watch list. It’s been five years now. Any idea when that simple measure will be implemented?

Maybe, when we stop re-electing irresponsible incumbent politicians.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 2, 2006 2:07 PM
Comment #173091

There’s an old saying, “The best security is always the biggest pain in the ass.”

Hopefully there will be a day soon when pat downs aren’t needed at a NFL game, but to completely discount the likelihood of another terrorist attack in the States, ESPECIALLY WHERE, OH, 90 THOUSAND AMERICANS HAPPEN TO BE HANGING OUT, is so indescribably naive … but as long as the ACLU is happy what’s the big deal over a big “kaboom” here or a big “kaboom” there … right?

On second thought, I’ll think I’ll make a toast to common sense and take the 8 second delay as I walk in the stadium for the big game.

Posted by: Ken Strong at August 3, 2006 5:46 PM
Comment #319597

I went to a game and was delayed 30 minutes trying to get in. I just missed the opening kickoff. I thought arriving 30 minutes before gametime was reasonable. Oh how I was wrong.

Posted by: Dennis at March 4, 2011 2:05 PM
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