Golden, Mirones Urge Court To Uphold New York Subway Bag Inspection

Martin J. Golden

October 28, 2005

The Washington Legal Foundation (WFL) filed a brief in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of itself and a group of organizations and individuals including Senator Martin J. Golden (R,C,I – Brooklyn), Assemblyman Matthew Mirones (R,C,I – Brooklyn, Staten Island) and Families of September 11, Inc., supporting New York City’s subway bag inspection program.

The security program, implemented shortly after the London terrorist subway bombings this summer, is designed to detect and deter would-be terrorists who would bring explosive devices aboard the subway system to kill or injure innocent passengers. A three-day trial in the case is scheduled to begin at noon on Monday, October 31, 2005 before federal judge Richard Berman in a lawsuit filed earlier this summer by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) against Raymond Kelly, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department, and the City of New York. The suit challenges the random inspection program on constitutional grounds.

"I was proud to join this suit on behalf of all New Yorkers. The threat against our City and Country is real and it is our responsibility as elected officials to do everything in our power to keep our citizens safe. We should not be limiting the police department’s ability to protect us." said Assemblyman Matthew Mirones.

"Insuring that our subway remains a safe mode of transportation for all New Yorkers is the priority and the intent of New York City's subway bag inspection program. To compromise it to any degree is unacceptable and that is why I join in support of this lawsuit. As a former New York City Police Officer, I know the importance of allowing law enforcement officials the tools to maintain safety and order. This bag inspection program allows the N.Y.P.D. that very ability and all New Yorkers are better for it," said Senator Marty Golden (R-C-I, 22nd District).

The original hearing date was scheduled for October 18, but was postponed upon the request of the NYCLU shortly after the city officials received information on October 6, that the NYC subways had been specifically targeted by terrorists.

In its 25-page brief, WFL argued that the inspection program clearly satisfies constitutional standards that balance strong governmental interest in deterring serious threats to public safety with the minimally intrusive aspects of searches that are conducted by the NYPD. The brief also recounted numerous incidents worldwide where urban mass transit has become an attractive target for terrorists.