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Federal judge rules U.S. no-fly list violates Constitution

Posted by on Jun. 25, 2014 at 8:48 AM
  • 3 Replies

Reuters) - The U.S. government's no-fly list banning people accused of links to terrorism from commercial flights violates their constitutional rights because it gives them no meaningful way to contest that decision, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Anna Brown, ruling on a lawsuit filed in federal court in Oregon by 13 Muslim Americans who were branded with the no-fly status, ordered the government to come up with new procedures that allow people on the no-fly list to challenge that designation.

"The court concludes international travel is not a mere convenience or luxury in this modern world. Indeed, for many international travel is a necessary aspect of liberties sacred to members of a free society," Brown wrote in her 65-page ruling.

"Accordingly, on this record the court concludes plaintiffs inclusion on the no-fly list constitutes a significant deprivation of their liberty interests in international travel," Brown said.

The decision hands a major victory to the 13 plaintiffs - four of them veterans of the U.S. military - who deny they have links to terrorism and say they only learned of their no-fly status when they arrived at an airport and were blocked from boarding a flight.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which brought suit against the policy in 2010, argues that secrecy surrounding the list and lack of any reasonable opportunity for plaintiffs to fight their placement on it violates their clients' constitutional rights to due process.

“For years, in the name of national security the government has argued for blanket secrecy and judicial deference to its profoundly unfair no-fly list procedures and those arguments have now been resoundingly rejected by the court," Hina Shamsi, the ACLU's national security project director, said in a written statement.

"This excellent decision also benefits other people wrongly stuck on the no-fly list with the promise of a way out from a Kafkaesque bureaucracy causing them no end of grief and hardships," Shamsi said.

The government contends there is an adequate means of contesting the flight ban and that individuals listed under the policy may ultimately petition a U.S. appeals court directly for relief.

Attorneys for the U.S. Department of Justice, which defended the lawsuit, declined to comment, other than to say they needed more time to read the ruling.

The no-fly list, established in 2003 in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, bars those on it from flying within the United States or to and from the country. As of last year, it included some 20,000 people deemed by the FBI as having, or reasonably suspected of having, ties to terrorism, an agency spokesman said at the time. About 500 of them were U.S. citizens.

by on Jun. 25, 2014 at 8:48 AM
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by on Jun. 25, 2014 at 9:47 AM

"13 people" ? Try tens, maybe hundreds of thousands. Many people are on it for the sole purpose of existing and allot of people are on it because we may have the same name as thousands of others. If I use the shorten version of my real name which is also legal because the long version wont even fit on an ID, S.S., credit, or insurance card there are about 8 thousand of us from all over the world on Face Book alone. At least last time I searched myself. Then after I skipped all the way to the end it gave me the option to "see more results" lol.

Due to my ex husband (from Egypt) never being allowed to enter the USA ever again for non terrorist related reasons that has probably been enough to put me on it.. I guess I'll find out one day but I'm expecting it. They have nothing better to but make sure some simple nobody like myself can't get on plane for no sensible reason. For those who not associated with the Arab community it probably sounds hard to believe but it is quite normal and regular in the Arabic community to be on it just because...

I know allot of people who are on it and have been told because they have the same name as some suspected terrorist somewhere in the world. Some faught it but it took years to get their self off but many even after fighting it for years can't get off the list.

by Silver Member on Jun. 25, 2014 at 10:17 AM

My son has a friend named John Smith, he is on the no-fly list.

by Gold Member on Jun. 25, 2014 at 2:07 PM


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