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WATCH: Madison Cawthorn Thinks “Free, Unrestricted” Air Travel Is Constitutionally Protected

If you’re wondering, there’s nothing in the U.S. Constitution protecting access to air travel. It’s okay if you didn’t know that — every American can’t be expected to understand everything in U.S. law and how Constitutional rights affect it. That’s one reason we have bodies of elected and appointed officials whose job is to be well-versed in Constitution and law so that they can apply it appropriately.

Madison Cawthorn and antivax right-wingers slow votes
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]

Enter Madison Cawthorn. He’s a Republican Representative from North Carolina, and he seems to have been studying a Sovereign Citizens’ handbook, instead of the Constitution. At least, his bizarre claims about a “Constitutionally protected right to free, unrestricted travel within the United States” sound far more like the false claims of this particular extremist fringe than anything actually existing in U.S. law.

If the “right to travel” sounds familiar, look no further than the aforementioned Sovereign Citizens’ Movement. They’re a group that uses this proclaimed right to defend their decisions to ignore traffic laws (including the requirements to be a licensed driver, pay vehicle taxes, and have a visible license plate on their vehicle). Of course, it’s conflation — the “right to travel” does not legally equate to the right to operate a motor vehicle.

Nor does it, contrary to Cawthorn’s claims, equate to the right to violate rules set in place by a transportation provider, whether it’s a taxi company, a subway, or an airline.

Cawthorn is suggesting to his fans that they’ll be restricted in basic rights if they refuse to get vaccinated, trying to push a narrative that paints the Biden Administration as authoritarian and controlling. The truth is, he’s not backing up any of these claims with evidence or legal statutes — just signaling to the like-minded.



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