LASP Unconstitutional, Says Lawyer

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An Atlanta lawyer and pilot claims the Transportation Security Administration's Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) is unconstitutional and he's started a campaign to convince Congress of that. Alan Armstrong says the stated goal of the program is to prevent aircraft from being used to carry biological, nuclear or other weapons in attacks against the U.S. But in a string of logic that could give some sectors of the aviation industry fits if he's right, Armstrong claims the 12,500-lb. lower limit on aircraft covered by LASP is "arbitrary and capricious" because just about any aircraft can carry such weapons. Therefore, he claims, the rule violates the Fifth Amendment which requires that laws be "substantive." He's asking his own elected representatives to help strike down the law and suggesting he'll take it to court if they don't.

Armstrong is calling for the rule to scrapped entirely. He doesn't address what might happen if the TSA simply changes the rule to cover all aircraft, something that might, quite legally, make matters worse. Indeed, Armstrong reported that at the second of four public hearings into the rule in Atlanta last week, there was a visible demonstration of the flying public's disdain for the rule. "One speaker ... called for everyone in the room who favored the termination and abandonment of the [rule] to stand," he said. "With the exception of a couple of young ladies, whom I suspect were TSA employees, everyone in the room not only stood but applauded."