I'm tired of hearing about this story. Of course the pat downs are forbidden by the 4th Amendment. So are DUI checkpoints and "sneek-n-peek" warrants authorized by the USA Patriot Act. The reason our government is allowed to violate the constitution in the name of "public safety" or "for the common good" is because judges are more interested in social engineering than following our own damned constitution.
Actually, the real reason our rights are being violated is because we let them be violated. Interestingly enough, the 2nd Amendment should be guaranteeing the 4th Amendment. Nobody is angry enough -- yet -- to go that far.
There are far better ways to get drunks off the road than unconstitutional checkpoints: increase the penalty for first-time DUI offenders to five years in prison and a $75,000 fine. Second offense gets you 15 years and $250,000. That's it. Anybody who can't follow the law is removed from society. Why am I stopped without probable cause or reasonable suspicion?
Want safer skies? Use criminal profiling in addition to metal and explosives detectors. Fully 99.9% of all terrorist attacks carried out in the last 25 years are committed by Muslims. This is not bigotry or "xenophobia", it's factual statistical analysis. Therefore, spend 99.9% of airport security resources looking at that group. What is the damned problem?