Transport Airports

Supreme Court won’t consider a case against TSA’s full-body scanners

Oct 01, 2012 3:11 pm

Skift Take

Public’s outrage against these scanners turned out to be overblown as we all found out after their introduction rolled out, and now it is past expiry date. Doesn’t mean you can’t have a reasoned debate about future of security at airports, as RAND is trying to do.

— Rafat Ali

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The Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider a Michigan blogger’s challenge of the use of full-body scanners and thorough pat-downs at airport checkpoints.

A man receives instructions on going through a full body scanner at a Transportation Security Administration security checkpoint in the Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey July 28, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Without comment, the court declined to take up Jonathan Corbett’s complaint that the Transportation Security Administration’s use of the screening techniques violated passengers’ protection against illegal searches under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The TSA, in October 2010, directed the use of the scanners, sometimes known as advanced imaging technology, which some critics fear could emit too much radiation.

In addition, the TSA authorized enhanced pat-downs, which could include the touching of genitals, buttocks and breasts, for passengers unwilling to go through the scanners. Passengers who rejected both procedures would not be allowed to fly.

Corbett, who maintains the “TSA Out of Our Pants!” blog, complained that the TSA lacked unilateral authority to adopt the procedures.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta had rejected Corbett’s case, saying a lower court correctly concluded that it did not have jurisdiction to review a TSA order.

On his blog, Corbett wrote that he plans to continue pursuing his case, using procedures allowed by the 11th Circuit. “The good news is that the fight is not over,” he wrote.

The case is Corbett v. U.S., U.S. Supreme Court, No. 11-1413.

(Editing by Gerald E. McCormick, M.D. Golan and Jackie Frank)

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