Aaron Tobey attained a degree of fame in carrying out a rather novel form of protest for civil liberties at an airport security point. Tobey stripped down and used a black marker to display a quote from of the Fourth Amendment on his bare chest reading “The right of the people to be secure … against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated.” He was arrested for his conduct, but now federal District Judge Henry Hudson had ruled that part of his lawsuit against the TSA can go forward to trial.
The lawsuit names two airport security screeners who had Tobey arrested after he stripped down to a pair of running shorts and a constitutional quotation on the Dec. 30, 2010 incident at Richmond International Airport. While dismissing other counts, Hudson allowed the case to proceed on the first amendment claim of free speech violations. This will now allow Tobey to start discovery with TSA, which could reveal some interesting evidence on how this case (and other cases like it) have been handled.
Hudson wrote “The question … is whether the [screeners] in fact radioed for assistance because of the message [Tobey] sought to convey as opposed to [Tobey’s] admittedly bizarre behavior or because of some other reasonable restriction on First Amendment activity in the security screening area.”
This could make for an interesting case so long as Tobey continues to file arguments in paper form.