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Bullshit. It is absolutely, positively, totally irrelevant whether the machine pinged, didn’t ping, or lit every situation board at NORAD with red lights and sirens. Bringing up the machine’s reaction is either abject stupidity or deliberate dishonesty — misplaced pseudo-egalitarianism or an attempt to divert people from the subject.
Paul is a Senator. Senators are members of Congress. Members of Congress SHALL NOT BE IMPEDED except in extreme cases. The Constitution doesn’t say “stopped” or “prevented”. It says “impeded”, that is, slowed down or temporarily inconvenienced. Paul lost two hours and missed his flight. That’s an impediment, and it’s unConstitutional.
Yeah, there’s the potential for abuse — LBJ doing 110 in his Lincoln on Texas back roads comes to mind. It fails to matter. The Constitution ALSO says that the only judge of the qualifications of members of Congress is Congress. If anybody’s going to slap a Senator down, it has to be the Senate, not some TSA baby-groper.
Senators are not “anybody else”, they’re Congresscritters. Congresscritters are important, and have that privilege in the Constitution, because they’re Congresscritters. The Framers put the requirement in because they knew history, particularly the events surrounding the English Revolution and Restoration. There’s a long history of rulers getting a free hand by preventing Parliament from meeting, and although there’s no way for Law to stand in the way of that in a practical sense, with that provision as Law of the Land Teh Protector at least can’t argue that the tactic is legal.
Personally, I think it was in the nature of a trial run. If this stands, all the President has to do is tell TSA to crank the machine’s sensitivity up to “tooth fillings and gum wrappers” whenever a Senator comes through. Presto, no session, and a free hand for recess appointments. Oliver Cromwell would be so proud.
[UPDATE] Thanks, Glenn, but a minor correction. I’m not “worried”. I expect abuse, in the same way I expect sunrise.