The Daily Caller reports that Senator Rand Paul told them that:
- He was put in a cubicle and told not to leave for two hours:
- That for an hour and a half he was told that he would have to submit to a pat-down;
- That eventually Senator Paul was told that he would not have to submit to a pat-down, and was in fact cleared to fly without one;
- And that he does not believe that the incident was politically motivated.
Fair enough on that last point; but I’m going to have to say that all of this sounds uncomfortably like a Senator getting detained over what turned out to not be a mandatory procedure, after all. There’s been a lively discussion out there whether this represents a violation if Rand Paul’s Article I, Section 6 rights as a Senator; and I’m going to take a somewhat absolutist position on this, frankly. I’m not comfortable on general principles with the idea of a Member of Congress being restrained on his or her way to or fro from Congress; and while there may be a bright line on this issue it’s not, in my opinion, when it comes to a fairly cosmetic ‘security’ procedure that nobody really expects an American Senator to flunk anyway.
Seriously, if Rand Paul – or, say, Ben Cardin, or any other Senator you might want to name – is a legitimate risk of smuggling explosives on board an airplane then we might as well give up now.