Last Mother's Day, grandmother Rhonda Mengert was subjected to a pat-down search at Tulsa airport, wherein a TSA agent felt a panty-liner in her underwear; she was then forced to strip down and show her panty-liner to a female TSA agent. Naturally, she filed suit against the TSA.
Now, the TSA has filed a reply brief in which they assert that Mengert is overreacting because "the intrusion on her privacy was no more severe than what could be routinely experienced in a women's locker room, where states of partial undress and feminine hygiene products are subject to observation by other members of the same gender."
Mengert's lawyer is Jon Corbett, who first came to the public eye with a high profile demonstration that he could smuggle lethal metal weapons through the TSA's full-body scanners. He writes, "Is a rape victim's trauma is no greater than they would have had during consensual sex? Can peeping toms now use this same defense? If not, then how can one possibly argue that having 2 uniformed federal employees force my client into a back room to show them her most intimate areas is in any way comparable to one voluntarily using a locker room?"
The difference between "extreme and outrageous" and "just locker room embarrassment," Ms. Zintgraff, is consent. And respectfully, while I don't personally have a lot of experience with women's locker room etiquette, I must assume that inspecting each other's pads is generally not a part of the experience. At least DOJ attorneys have moved on from arguing that kids detained for weeks don't need blankets or toothbrushes… it's just unfortunate that they've now taken up selling out on women's rights in order to avoid paying a woman who they violated.
TSA: Forced Strip-Search No More Offensive Than Voluntarily Using a Locker Room [Jon Corbett/Professional Troublemaker]
(Thanks, Sai and Jonathan!)