The local chapter of the ACLU says it's making plans to challenge the constitutionality of Metro's bag searches in court. But it's unclear if the group has a case.
"It's certainly not a frivolous lawsuit, although I do think it is an uphill battle for the ACLU," says Stephen Vladeck, an American University law professor who specializes in matters of national security.
Vladeck says since 9/11, courts have tended to side with law enforcement in cases like this, "but the law's not settled in this area. And I think civil libertarians are rightly concerned that this kind of thinking, this kind of reasoning, really could allow the government to conduct far more intrusive searches in places far more intrusive than the Metro."
Vladeck says this case could go a long way toward defining exactly how far law enforcement authorities can go in the name of preventing terrorism.
(WAMU is licensed to American University.)