Federal Judge Rules No-Fly List Violates Constitutional Rights
A federal judge has ruled that the no-fly list violates the Constitution. As it stands, American citizens accused of having links to terrorism can be banned from flying without notice.
U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown ruled, “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.”
Thirteen people, including four military veterans, challenged being placed on the list in 2010. Brown initially said she couldn’t rule on the case, but it was sent back to her in 2012 by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The plaintiffs argued being on the list harms their reputations. Several who filed suit said they have been surrounded at airport security areas, detained and interrogated.
Brown expressed skepticism at the government's arguments in several court hearings in 2013 and earlier this year. U.S. government attorneys cautioned the judge not to engage in "policymaking" were she to rule against them.
The ruling shows Brown heeded that caution. She did not create a new procedure for those on the list to challenge their placement. Instead, Brown said the Department of Homeland Security needs to find a way to disclose to those on the list the unclassified information used to place them there.
Since much of what is used for placement is classified, Brown said the government should provide people on the list with the nature and extent of the classified information, the type of threat they pose to national security, and the ways in which they can respond to the charges.
Her suggestions for an overhaul of the system hewed closely to those prescribed by the 9th Circuit in a separate case involving an Islamic charity.
The process "does not provide a meaningful mechanism for travelers who have been denied boarding to correct erroneous information in the government's terrorism databases," Brown ruled.
On America’s Newsroom, former CIA operations officer Charles Faddis said it will be difficult to notify people that they’re on the list without compromising sources and classified intelligence.
Martha MacCallum pointed out, “[Boston bombing suspect] Tamerlan Tsarnaev was not on the no-fly list. So there’s plenty of dangerous people who have been investigated in this country, we’ve been alerted to by other countries, who are not on the list, Charles. And then there are people who are on the list who do not belong there.”
Faddis said the frustration is justified, but the answer isn’t to have a federal judge order due process.
Fox News legal analyst Lis Wiehl predicted that the Justice Department will appeal, citing national security, and the ruling will likely be overturned.