Civil Liberties

You Can't See Our Stinking Law


The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear John Gilmore's appeal of a 9th Circuit decision rejecting his demand to be shown the text of the regulation that is said to require air travelers to show ID. Background to the case is here; Brian Doherty delved into it for Reason in a 2003 cover story.

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  1. The justices, without comment, let stand an appeals court ruling against Libertarian activist and millionaire John Gilmore.

    Actually, they did comment, but no one is allowed to read it.

  2. without comment

    The justices must be high-fiving each other and having a big ass laugh over that.

  3. Hmmm… maybe I should tell the IRS that I have prepared a tax return, but I’m not going to let them see it.

  4. Franz Kafka, you have a call at the white courtesy phone. Paging Mr. Kafka….


  6. US Constitution, Amendment VI:

    “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right … to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation.”

    It would certainly seem to me that due process (guaranteed by Amendment V) would include showing the accused the text of the law or regulation under which he is being charged. At very least, the charges should cite the relevant provision, which should be available to the defendant and his counsel for review. That is just the common sense of a free society.

    If the authorities can’t or won’t produce the law, the defendant should walk. Period.

  7. Reading more about the case, I see that the relevant incident never rose to the level of criminal prosecution — nor, I imagine, could it, unless Gilmore flashed were to flash fake ID or contrive to get onto an airliner under similarly false pretenses.

    It’s a sad day when our government forces people to break the law, just to get a chance to see it, much less challenge it in court. But from what I am seeing of the background of this case, such affirmative civil disobedience may very well be necessary. Too bad for everyone involved.

  8. This makes my head ache just a bit.

  9. Does anyone else think that this sounds like the plot from a really bad Monty Python sketch?

  10. Actually, some of the reader comments sound about as ridiculous as the subject to me.

    Bunch of idiots.

  11. Oy, Nick! `E broke the unwritten law!

  12. My own opinion of this will remain sealed, lest I break a sealed law regarding public expression about it.

  13. But, but, but–This is a 9TH CIRCUIT decision. What is the Supreme Court thinking!

  14. I guess I broke the law last week. I checked in on-line, no baggage to check, and never at any point was I asked to show any I.D.

    I feel like such a rebel. Breakin’ the Law!

    (cue Judas Priest)

  15. dead_elvis,
    What airport?

  16. I always check in online, and I never check baggage ( I either don’t carry it or I UPS it to my destination). Yet, they always ask for ID to get past the metal detector.

  17. I always have to show ID a couple of times. But then I’m usually checking a gun in my luggage.

    What was the point of quoting the Constitution? It’s not like the government has to follow it or anything.

  18. The law is an idiot, an ass.

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