US judge rules ‘no-fly’ ban on 13 Muslim citizens unconstitutional
Associated Press in Portland, Oregon
The US government offered no adequate method for people to challenge their placement on its no-fly list, a judge ruled in a case involving 13 Muslims who believed they were on the list.
District Court judge Anna Brown found on Tuesday that people lacked a meaningful way to challenge their placement on the list, and the 13 people who sued the government had been unconstitutionally deprived of their right to fly.
"This should serve as a wake-up call to the government," said American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Hina Shamsi. "This decision also benefits other people wrongly stuck on the no-fly list because it affords them [an opportunity to challenge] a Kafkaesque bureaucracy."
Justice Department spokeswoman Dena Iverson said government lawyers were reviewing the decision.
The 13 who challenged their placement on the list in 2010 included four military veterans.
Initially, Brown said she could not rule on the case, but in 2012, the Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed and sent the case back to her.
Brown ruled in August last year that the 13 people challenging their presence on the list had a constitutional right to travel and, on Tuesday, found the government violated that right.
"For many," Brown wrote in Tuesday's decision, "international travel is a necessary aspect of liberties sacred to members of a free society."