In Craig’s Defense

Posted September 17, 2007 at 6:46pm

The American Civil Liberties Union told a Minnesota court Monday that embattled Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) should be allowed to change the guilty plea he copped after being swept up in a airport bathroom sex sting earlier this summer. [IMGCAP(1)]

In a friend-of-the-court brief, the group claimed the sting, which netted law enforcement, Craig and dozens of other travelers, violated free-speech rights because it was not “carefully crafted” to avoid punishing the innocent. “Solicitation for private sex,” the group argued, “regardless if it occurs in a bar or a restroom, is protected speech under the First Amendment.”

“The real motive behind secret sting operations … is not to stop people from inappropriate activity.

“It is to make as many arrests as possible — arrests that sometimes unconstitutionally trap innocent people,” ACLU chief Anthony Romero said. “If the police really want to stop people from having sex in public bathrooms, they should put up a sign banning sex in the restroom and send in a uniformed officer to patrol periodically. That works.”

— Matthew Murray