Nudist rejoice! Multnomah County Circuit Judge David Rees has ruled that nudity laws don’t apply when it comes to protests at the airport. The judge made his ruling after 50-year-old technology consultant John Brennan entered the Portland International Airport in April 2012 and stripped off his clothes in order to pass through TSA security checkpoints.
Brennan was heading to a business meting in San Jose and after receiving an infraction he said:
“I was mostly motivated by the absurdity of it all. The irony that they wanna see me naked. But I don’t get to take my clothes off?”
Brennan refused to head through one of the TSA’s “nude” scanners and instead opted for a pat-down. After the pat down a TSA officer said he had found nitrates on Brennan, a chemical used in explosives and various other non-lethal products.
Realizing that he was being signaled out for a potential crime he didn’t commit Brennan simply removed all his clothes and passed through the TSA checkpoint where he was promptly arrested.
In his decision Judge David Rees declared:
“It is the speech itself that the state is seeking to punish, and that it cannot do.”
Brennan’s biggest defense may be the fact that he was not attempting to threaten anyone with his actions, according to TSA officer in a statement to Wired:
“There is no policy that restricts passengers from expressing their opinion as long as they are not threatening.”
In the meantime the ruling only applies to free speech as written under Oregon law which means you could still face persecution in other states if you attempt the same naked TSA checkpoint stunt.
I am not sure what is more invasive, a TSA pat down or just stripping off your clothes and passing through checkpoints.