A federal judge’s leap of illogic

Published January 1, 2013

Let us consider the inane and illogical words of 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson, who dissented in an opinion regarding a Fourth Amendment lawsuit.

Quick background: Aaron Tobey didn’t want to be exposed to the radiation from the ‘nude body scanners’ at the Richmond airport, so he stripped to his shorts and revealed a quote from the Fourth Amendment written on his chest. He was handcuffed and detained. He sued, and the 4th Circuit Court agreed, 2-1, that his case could go to trial.

And J. Harvie Wilkinson was the lone dissenter.

Often dissentions are based on logic and a different interpretation of the law. But not Wilkinson’s. His was based on — I dunno. Maybe “I don’t like it.”

Had this protest been launched somewhere other than in the security-screening area, we would have a much different case. But Tobey’s antics diverted defendants from their passenger-screening duties for a period, a diversion that nefarious actors could have exploited to dangerous effect.

Wilkinson’s argument is that “nefarious actors could have exploited” Tobey’s bare chest to “dangerous effect.” Huh? As if terrorists are hanging around airports, waiting for a distraction to miraculously appear.

“Look, Abdul! That man is protesting his strip search! Let us act now!”

And the first part of Wilkinson’s argument is almost as foolish. “Had this protest been launched somewhere other than in the security-screening area, we would have a much different case.”

Again: Huh? Where else could it have happened? Hey, Judge Genius, he was protesting the security screening he was going through. You’re suggesting he should protest at the local K-Mart?

And this guy was appointed to a Federal judgeship? And was considered for the Supreme Court?

Click here for the Wired story on this.



Join the Fray

I won't share your e-mail.


*