The legal issues surrounding the TSA strip search scanners and sexual assault patdowns can become very complex. To give you some context, the legal battle concerns - but is not limited to - terms and concepts such as administrative searches, US vs Davis, the 10th amendment and state sovereignty, the Commerce Clause, Camara vs Municipal Court And City Of San Francisco, the Supremacy Clause, Federal court system jurisdictions, the 4th Amendment and the Code of Federal Regulations.
It may well be that the Supreme Court will have to review a legal case brought by an individual or a class of individuals against the TSA based on violation of constitutional rights, most likely the 4th amendment. Today, the TSA is performing electronic strip searches and sexual assault pat downs which have not been specifically tested yet in the courts.
If a legal case were to be "lost" in the Supreme Court, than it would likely be up to Congress to pass specific laws to forbid strip searches and sexual assault pat downs as practiced by the TSA. For this reason, it is very important to work with the coalition of citizens and groups to effect legislative change at all levels - Federal, State, and Local government.
There are three legal efforts we have highlighted based on their applicability and you can go to the links to read more about their progress.
Electronic Privacy Information Center (www,epic.org) - This group is an extremely well-known protector of privacy rights, and they have more than one intiative against the TSA. One highlight in their Spring, 2011 court hearing was that the TSA absolutely asserted that it has the right to strip search Americans - without a warrant and without probable cause. They are attacking the TSA strip search scanners from several angles. You can read more at EPIC Fights The TSA.
Update July 15, 2011: The Court of Appeals ruled the TSA is not justified in its failure to issue notice and solicit comments. This court was not pursuaded by the constitutional arguments.
Jonathan Corbett, Individual - UPDATE MAY-2012. Jon has filed with the Supreme Court to ask that citizens can actually have a trial over constitutional issues heard in District Court, which allows full discovery and trial by jury. LINK - Jon Corbett Files With Supreme Court
This small business owner is pursuing his own lawsuit based on his TSA experience. There are some subtle challenges, which occur in other legal efforts against the TSA, in determining which Federal Court should hear the case, how much evidence can be gathered, and if the TSA legal authority can be tested under the 4th Amendment. He actively blogs his case at TSA Out Of Our Pants .
Jonathan Blitz, Individual - Mr. Blitz has been a lawyer, and the Blitz Oppostion Motion To Dismiss is a tour de force legal document in fighting for appropriate jurisdiction and a real opportunity to press his case against the TSA. The previously mentioned Jonathan Corbett blogs this document at Jon Blitz Legal Tour De Force about half way down the entry. Reading this will give you an appreciation for the legal complexity.