Airports and the rule of law

Why do we have to show a photo ID to board a domestic flight? Air genius Gary Leff explains here and here why we are required to “show our papers” at our Soviet-style airport security checkpoints and why this requirement undermines the rule of law (edited by us for clarity):

Airlines used to ask for ID to make sure the person traveling was the one that bought the ticket, solely to restrict the resale market for airfare in order to support revenue management systems that increased the price of travel closer to departure …. Now the government does the airline’s work for them, ostensibly for security …. The ‘security purpose’ of ID checks is to try to force people to fly under their real names, so that those names can be checked against the government’s highly flawed watch and do not fly lists. Anyone on such a list, intent on committing a terrorist act, would simply choose not to fly under their own name.

Worse yet, these ineffectual and inefficient security-theater measures, especially the watch and no-fly lists, do not comply with the basic rudiments of due process. As Mr Leff goes on to explain:

Those lists … impose substantial burdens on the right to travel:

• People get added to the ‘do not fly list’ without any due process proceeding;

• It’s not necessary to commit any disqualifying acts to be on that list (they’re pre-crime profiling: mere suspicion that someone might do something in the future);

• You cannot confront your accuser;

• There’s almost no meaningful and timely redress procedures.

In short, we now have to show our papers to travel, even inside our own country. When will this security-theater madness end?

About F. E. Guerra-Pujol

When I’m not blogging, I am a business law professor at the University of Central Florida.
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