Right to bare? TSA screeners face lawsuit
Aaron Tobey, the 21-year-old Charlottesville native who made headlines last December when he was arrested after stripping down to his shorts at the Richmond International Airport while going through security, revealing the words of the Fourth Amendment written on his bare chest to protest controversial new TSA strip search procedures, will get his day in court.
Tobey filed a lawsuit in March, with the help of the Rutherford Institute, against Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, the head of the TSA, and the Richmond Airport, alledging that TSA agents and airport police denied his Constitutional rights under the First and Fourth Amendments.
On Tuesday, August 30, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson dismissed the lawsuit's claim that the TSA itself violated the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable search and seizure, but Hudson let stand the claims of false imprisonment and malicious prosecution against two TSA officers, the AP reports.
"Aaron Tobey was arrested for exercising his right to free speech, which is clearly protected under the First Amendment," said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, in a statement. "Tobey was also unduly seized by government agents in violation of the Fourth Amendment, despite the fact that he did nothing to disrupt airport routine."
The case has been set for trial on January 18, 2012.