AIR TRAVELER ID REQUIREMENT CHALLENGED
gnu at toad.com
Sun Nov 17 23:16:12 PST 2002
> I was browsing some of my old mail when I came across this. What's the
> status of Gilmore's case?
The regulations I'm challenging purport to require air and train
travelers to show a "government issued ID". Every traveler has been
subjected to these "requirements", but it turns out that they aren't
really required by any published law or regulation. And if you refuse
to meet the supposed requirements, you find out that there are
alternative requirements, that they weren't telling you about.
The government has responded, as have the airlines. Their response is
to ask the court to dismiss the case, as expected. See the web site
for copies of their motions.
The Federal one has the most interesting arguments. In summary, they
argue that I can't challenge the no-fly list or anything other than
the ID demand because, having not shown ID, the no-fly list was not
applied to me; that I can't sue in a District Court anyway because the
Court of Appeals is supposed to have original jurisdiction; that the
government can make any rule it wants which relates to air security,
and penalize the public over violations, without ever telling the
public what the rule is; that being refused passage unless I present
an ID does not infringe my constitutional right to travel anyway; that
being prevented from traveling anoymously does not implicate any First
Amendment interests; that every possible form of airport security is a
fully constitutional 4th-Amendment search; and that since my right
to travel is not being infringed, these searches give me equal
protection just like all members of the public, because any 'rational'
reason for singling out anonymous travelers will suffice.
If everyone shows ID to fly, and they can get away with preventing
anonymous travel, it becomes easy for the government to single out
e.g. members of the Green Party. (If no ID was required, any
persecuted minority would soon learn to book their tickets under
assumed names.) The Nixon Administration had its "enemies list", who
it subjected to IRS audits and other harassment. But even that evil
President didn't prevent his "enemies" from moving around the country
to associate with anyone they liked. The Bush Administration's list
interferes with freedom of association and with the constitutional
right to travel.
As my experience on July 4th, 2002, in the San Francisco airport
demonstrated, citizens are free to not show ID to fly, if they spend
half an hour arguing with security personnel over what the secret
rules actually say. But then, catch-22, the citizen can board the
plane only if they'll submit to a physical search like the ones that
Green Party members and other "on the list" people are subjected to.
So, you can identify yourself to them and be harassed for your
political beliefs, unconstitutionally. Or you can stand up for your
right to travel anonymously, and be searched unconstitutionally. Or
you can just not travel. That's why I'm suing Mr. Ashcroft and his
The government motion to dismiss my case is filed at:
The index to all the related documents is at:
> Has there been a secret trial?
No. We will file a response to this motion by approx Dec 1. Then
they will file their reply in mid December or so. Both of those will
go on the web site. (If anybody wants to OCR the PDFs of the gov't
documents, please go for it and email me the text.) Then the court
will read all this stuff, and we'll have a hearing, which is
tentatively scheduled for mid-January.
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