Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Pat-Downs will Continue at NFL Stadiums [J. Mark English]

Did you know that you do not have a constitutional right to watch an NFL football game? Thats what an appeal court just decided today. This is from the Chicago Tribune:

A federal appeals court cleared the way for pat-down searches to resume at Tampa Bay Buccaneers home games, rejecting a fan's contention that they violate his constitutional protection against unreasonable searches.

High school teacher Gordon Johnston successfully challenged the frisking of fans entering Raymond James Stadium in three lower courts, but a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned those rulings Tuesday -- saying Johnston forfeited his right to challenge the constitutionality of the pat-downs when he consented to them.

The court also said Johnston doesn't have a constitutional right to watch a football game, that he was aware of the search policy before entering the stadium and that the Bucs can revoke game tickets for any reason.

"Considering Johnston's ticket was only a revocable license to attend games, there is in the court's opinion at least a question concerning whether Johnston had a constitutional right to pass voluntarily through the stadium gates without being subjected to a pat-down search, even if he had not consented to one," the court wrote.

Comment -

You'd think that all of these legal battles that Johnston put himself through could have been avoided if he had just read the back of his ticket. I went to a Mets game last night, and it basically stated that by entering the stadium I understand that I am in danger of being struck by a baseball, and that I may not hold the Mets responsible for my injuries, or death. If they state that, then a simple pat-down is nothing.