04/09/2007 02:32 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

'Have You Been in any Peace Marches?'

If you take a look at Walter F. Murphy's Wikipedia page, he sounds like an accomplished and impressive scholar. "He won a Distinguished Service Cross for his service as a Marine in Korea," the page says. "He held the chair of McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton. In addition to non-fiction works on political science, he has written three popular novels, Vicar of Christ, The Roman Enigma, and Upon This Rock."

If anything, this understates Murphy's background. Mark Graber adds that Murphy "is easily the most distinguished scholar of public law in political science. His works on both constitutional theory and judicial behavior are classics in the field."

Unfortunately, that doesn"t mean he's allowed to fly.

"On 1 March 07, I was scheduled to fly on American Airlines to Newark, NJ, to attend an academic conference at Princeton University, designed to focus on my latest scholarly book, Constitutional Democracy, published by Johns Hopkins University Press this past Thanksgiving."

"When I tried to use the curb-side check in at the Sunport, I was denied a boarding pass because I was on the Terrorist Watch list. I was instructed to go inside and talk to a clerk. At this point, I should note that I am not only the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence (emeritus) but also a retired Marine colonel. I fought in the Korean War as a young lieutenant, was wounded, and decorated for heroism. I remained a professional soldier for more than five years and then accepted a commission as a reserve office, serving for an additional 19 years."

"I presented my credentials from the Marine Corps to a very polite clerk for American Airlines. One of the two people to whom I talked asked a question and offered a frightening comment: "Have you been in any peace marches? We ban a lot of people from flying because of that." I explained that I had not so marched but had, in September, 2006, given a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the Web, highly critical of George Bush for his many violations of the Constitution. "That'll do it," the man said."

I'm sorry, I must be confused. Can someone remind me what country we're in? I seem to recall a place called the United States. Has anyone seen it?

Keep in mind, Prof. Murphy is not exactly a conventional liberal academic. As Graber noted, Murphy is a critic of Roe v. Wade and supported Samuel Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court. Apparently, none of this matters.

Now, as it turns out, after extensive review from TSA officials, American Airlines eventually gave Murphy his boarding pass, but not before telling him, "I must warn you, they're going to ransack your luggage." On the return trip, the ransacking didn't matter -- his luggage was "lost."

Just 652 days left until there's a real president. It won't be easy, but I think we can make it.