Popular Culture

No Justice for Jesse Ventura


The Associated Press reports some bad news for former professional wrestler and maverick Minnesota Gov. Jesse "The Body" Ventura:

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura in which he sought to challenge the use of full-body scans and pat-downs at airport checkpoints.

Ventura sued the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration in January alleging that the scans and pat-downs violated his right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizure.

U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson ruled Thursday that the court lacked jurisdiction.

Read the full story here.

There's no question Ventura did his best work in Predator, but it's still been disheartening to watch him descend from a libertarian-leaning populism into the conspiracy-driven ideology he inhabits today. Who knows, maybe with this lawsuit out of the way he'll be free to mull a 2012 run for the White House. That would be entertaining, to say the least.

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  1. There’s no question Ventura did his best work in Predator

    Hey Damon, before you go off saying things like this, are you familiar with a little movie called The Running Man?

    1. Sorry, I’m going with Predator: “I ain’t got time to bleed.”

      1. I didn’t say Running Man THE MOVIE was better than Predator THE MOVIE; I compared Ventura’s performances in the two.

        But I’m totally unsurprised that subtlety was lost on you, ProL.

        “This is a sport of blood and honor!”

        1. “I ain’t got time to bleed.”

          Predator wins.

          1. And I mean Gov. Ventura’s performance. That line alone closes the deal.

            I’m still waiting for Gov. Weathers to take his rightful place at the helm of some lucky state.

            1. Smooth, refreshing Colt 45 Malt Liquor for everyone!

              1. What? He wasn’t in Predator.

    2. Way to early to embrace that suck! At least Electro could sing.

      1. Crap not Electro….Dynamo!

      2. Running Man had its moments.

      3. I’m going to need you to be less incoherent.

    3. Of course you would just totally dismiss his greatest film role EVER.

    4. Yes little did we know that when watching running man, not one, but two people from that movie would one day become governors.

    5. No, no, no. His best work is easily with Adrian Adonis as the tag team “Immoral Minority”.

  2. U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson ruled Thursday that the court lacked jurisdiction.


    Maybe she meant the Court lacks “backbone”.

    1. According to the judge the law requires he take the case directly to the Court of Appeals. Seems odd to me it was written that way, but at this point it’s just dull procedure.

      1. This is strange. I’ve not heard before of a case or controversy that required you to start at a Federal Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court, sure, or maybe the Court of Federal Claims, but filing the case first with the 8th Circuit? That seems wrong at first glance. How does a federal district court lack jurisdiction to hear a 4th Amendment claim against federal officers acting within its geographical area?

        Reading further articles, it seems the statute or regulation authorizing the TSA searches requires that TSA orders (like the set of procedures Ventura is suing about) be appealed at a court of appeals. If so, this is one of the silliest things I’ve read in government. I didn’t think that CoAs were fact finding bodies. CoAs don’t normally hear witnesses or admit evidence. They evaluate the trial record and see if the judge screwed up the law or procedure. What record are they supposed to look at in order to make a ruling? Is there an internal administrative hearing that Ventura needed to go through first, where he could have stated his grievance? Not about to fire up westlaw for this, but does anyone have the statute handy that explicitly says the Dist. Court doesn’t have jurisdiction?

        Then again, this is Judge Nelson we’re talking about. I wasn’t terribly impressed with her reasoning in the NFL labor dispute.

        1. It depends on what the complaint actually was challenging. If it was challenging a specific incident alleging a 4th Amendment violation, then yes, generally you’d start in the applicable district court. But evidently he was challenging the TSA’s regulation or policy in general. The statute likely requires you to challenge the agency’s regulation in the D.C. Circuit.

          When you are challenging the legality of an agency regulation, there is no fact-finding, at least not of the type you need to do in a trial. Instead, it’s really all questions of law – other than facts like when did the agency propose the regulation, did they solicit comments from the public, etc.

    2. “”WTF?””

      No kidding. I haven’t found anything yet that makes sense of the lacked of jurisdiction claimed. Anyone know?

      If it was filed in the wrong district, I could understand. But (put on the foil hat) is there something in the law that forbids the courts from hearing such claims?

      Remember the case where TSA settled for a couple of thousand dollars? Why would someone accecpt such little money unless they were looking at a dead end.

      /foil hat

      1. I figured a citizen suing the gov’t could be heard in any federal court. Maybe it has to be filed in the D.C. circuit. Maybe ProL or another lawyer can explain?

        1. IANAL, but generally the case must be brought before the court that has jurisdiction over the place where the event occurred.

          Federal district courts are courts of original jurisdiction for most federal matters. Federal courts of appeals have original jurisdiction for a few narrowly defined types of cases (ie, Admiralty law).

          Seems strange that if this was one of those cases that Ventura’s lawyer didn’t know this and file in the appropriate court.

          Shorter: WTF?

          1. And strike “generally” above.

    3. IAAL, and in fact I practice administrative law (i.e., the law of dealing with bureaucratic government agencies and their regulations).

      I am not familiar with the particular law at issue here, but I do know that enabling legislation written by Congress typically identifies which courts have jurisdiction over what types of claims. Depending on what your beef is, the law will tell you which court you have to take it to.

      Part of the art here is characterizing what your beef is.

      For example, if you are suing the aency for failing to perform a non-discretionary duty of the agency (e.g., the statute imposes an obligation upon the agency and the agency hasn’t done it as required or by the deadline required), the statute might require you to bring that challenge in the D.C. Circuit. If you are challenging an agency’s regulation, that too typically must be brought in the D.C. Circuit. In general, where the beef is with an agency action of general effect, the circuit courts have jurisdiction.

      If the beef is with a specific action as applied to a particular situation, like an agency enforcement case against a specific facility or person, typically that must be brought in the district court in the district where the action occurred.

      1. Environmental groups (e.g., Sierra Club, Riverkeepers) play this game all the time – they claim they are challenging the issuance of a permit, which is brought in the local district court, when really the gravamen of their complaint (I just love that phrase) is a challenge to the agency’s decision-making, which must be brought in the circuit court (usually D.C. Circuit). So often, those disputes turn into debates over whether the group brought suit in the right court, based on what the applicable statute requires. And that turns on what actually is the true nature of their complaint.

        1. Thanks, BSR.

          BTW, WTF does the CoA for the Federal Circuit do?

          1. It’s a special one.

            Wikipedia is your friend and says it better than I could right now.

      2. If the beef is with a specific action as applied to a particular situation, like an agency enforcement case against a specific facility or person, typically that must be brought in the district court in the district where the action occurred.

        So if Jesse Ventura felt the TSA search at the Minneapolis airport violated his Fourth Amendment rights, the appropriate venue would be the 8th District Court, right?

        1. Well there is no “8th District Court” in the federal court system.

          The District Courts are given regional names – e.g., Western District of Virginia or Eastern District of Virginia. These generally are based on population, so some less populus states have only one district court. I just looked it up (cuz I don’t have all of these memorized) and Minnesota has only one district – the Federal District Court for the District of Minnesota.

          The District Courts generally are federal trial courts.

          The USA is divided into federal circuits. The circuit courts generally are appellate courts. When you lose in district court, generally you appeal to the circuit court for the circuit within which the district court is located (this can get way complicated, of course – I’m talking very generally here).

          The 8th Circuit includes Minnesota, as well as the Dakotas, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Arkansas.

      3. BSR,

        I am confused. If I’m understanding you correctly, for some grievances against an administrative agency, the case must be brought in the D.C. Circuit. O.K., I get that. Where I’m hazy is the statement that the case needed to be first brought in the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. That seems strange, for the reasons I laid out in my post above.

        1. And, as I see in your response above, if his dispute is just with the regulations and procedures of TSA, then those are going to mostly be questions of law. In that case, there won’t be witnesses or physical evidence, just briefs from both sides and amici, so why not just go straight to the appellate court? Got it.

          Again, if I’m understanding this correctly. Thanks, BSR for your concise, well-thought-out responses.

        2. It’s because that’s where Congress said you have to bring those types of claims.

          I am of course speaking in general terms – the key is what the specific statute in question actually requires. But generally, that’s the sort of standard model I see in administrative agency statutes.

  3. Damon Root is offbase here, sorry to say. Someone has to watch the watchdogs. Maybe his conspiracy theorizing is offbase, maybe not.

    There is no way to know the extent to which authorities take advantage of citizens unless you challenge authority. Being unorthodox is how innovators are made. Ventura is a wildman looking out for the rights of the individual and I applaud him for that.

    1. Well, there’s a healthy paranoia about government, and there’s crazy.

      1. What’s the distinction then?

        1. All you have done is conflate the two.

          1. I conflate nothing. Unreasonable conspiracy theories–like Truthers and Moon Hoax nuts–are easily distinguished from other, more feasible plots.

            1. I know, right?

    2. “Damon Root is offbase here, sorry to say. Someone has to watch the watchdogs. Maybe his conspiracy theorizing is offbase, maybe not.”

      Ventura is a well known 9/11 Truther and Obama Birther. I don’t think many really disagree that DHS security theater is unreasonable.

    3. But who shall watch these watchmen?

  4. Don’t know why you’re taking a pot shot at Ventura when this lawsuit is one of the better things he’s done recently. I’d hope he would appeal this if possible.

  5. I often disagree with conspiracy theorists but I am VERY GLAD they exist. In a way they are like the UFO people who scan the skies all day and night looking for alien life. They may never actual discover aliens but they do sometimes discover interesting phenomenon that the rest of us miss. Having people who are “on alert” is a very good thing. I sometimes listen to Alex Jones podcasts for this very reason. He isn’t always right but he sometimes picks up on very true stories that are missed by the mainstream media.

    1. There’s SETI, then there are people in Sedona, wearing crystals that send beacons of light to alien angels.

      1. Why can’t you understand that they’re doing it for YOU?

        1. They’re trying to contact the children of aliens, Sparky, so they can help OUR children.

          It’s ALL about the children. Didn’t you get the daily briefing from The Ministry of Truth?

          1. …and cows. Aliens love cows. Children and cows, that is what it is done for.

          2. I saw a documentary once about how the aliens are changing our children so they’ll be able to survive when the sun starts to expand.

            1. it wasnt expanding it was makeing a shift to UV and the alien music gave is reflective skin.

              1. Yes, of course. It’s been a while since I saw it so I couldn’t remember the exact change the sun was going through. In any case, THANKS ALIENS.

                1. Was that one of the new Twilight Zone episodes? Sounds familiar.

                    1. Oh, the new outer Limits. Okay.

                    2. Usually with a capital “O.”

    2. I miss Art Bell

      1. Did the government finally silence him?

        1. Nah, he’s been called to the mother ship.

  6. “”ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) ? Former Minn. Gov. Jesse Ventura is so upset by a judge’s ruling on his airport security lawsuit that he says he’ll apply for dual citizenship so he can spend more time in his beloved Mexico.””


  7. …it’s still been disheartening to watch him descend from a libertarian-leaning populism into the conspiracy-driven ideology he inhabits today.

    Conspiracies are the engine of history. There is no “conspiracy-driven ideology”, just a willingness to examine all the facts.

  8. honestly, how likely do u think it is that the Body actually wrote an entire book, much less the 70+-5 that have been “authored” by him in the past 15 years or so? how many books do u think Body has read since high school? why don’t u pick on someone your own literacy-level. also, this is classic Reason: “Remember the sane, reasonable, boa-wearing, liberace-attired libertarian-sympathizing Ventura of yore? Well, Reason readers, he has lost his credibility as an intellectual.”

  9. There was a time when H&R seemed anti-statist. Now it might as well be instapundit.
    Does Epi have a blog?

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