TSA ID Requirements
Those who wish to fly without ID cards have but a few more days.
Beginning Saturday, June 21, 2008 passengers that willfully refuse to provide identification at security checkpoint will be denied access to the secure area of airports. This change will apply exclusively to individuals that simply refuse to provide any identification or assist transportation security officers in ascertaining their identity.
This new procedure will not affect passengers that may have misplaced, lost or otherwise do not have ID but are cooperative with officers. Cooperative passengers without ID may be subjected to additional screening protocols, including enhanced physical screening, enhanced carry-on and/or checked baggage screening, interviews with behavior detection or law enforcement officers and other measures.
Now, I’m as anti-TSA as the next guy and still maintain that being subject to search by federal agents absent reasonable suspicion, much less probable cause, is a violation of my 4th Amendment rights. But having to show identification so that it can be ascertained that I share a name with the guy on the boarding pass? No problem.
Daniel Solove begs to differ.
I’m one who routinely presents my ID to the TSA officials at the airport. I think that the ID requirement is stupid, but I just want to get to my plane and not be hassled. But others, for reasons of conscience or protest, do not want to present their ID at the airport. This new TSA rule strikes me as problematic from a First Amendment standpoint, since it seems to be designed to target those who don’t present ID for expressive reasons. As such, this new TSA requirement might be a form of viewpoint discrimination.
Although the First Amendment doesn’t restrict the TSA from requiring IDs in order to board an airplane, it does restrict using the ID requirement to penalize people who engage in expressive conduct. Because the TSA requirement seems to be targeted to this kind of expressive conduct (hence the exception for lost or stolen IDs), it may run afoul of the First Amendment.
I get that there’s such a thing as symbolic speech. You know, F- the draft and other such noble sentiments. But what exactly is the idea conveyed by not showing one’s drivers’ license? I got my license suspended? I’m under 16? I’m afraid the camera will steal my soul? F- you? Wouldn’t it be more expressive to say, “It really pisses me off that I have to show you ID to fly” to the agent while complying with the request?
I do, however, find it troubling that the regulation has a “is nice to the authorities” exemption. The freedom to be crabby with annoying government officials strikes me as much more fundamental to free expression than not showing an ID card.