A U.S. District judge in Oregon shot down the government’s argument that individuals who have been placed on the no-fly list maintain all their rights and can travel by other means, instead siding with the American Civil Liberties Union and the 13 individuals it represents. The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of those individuals, arguing that the government’s current policy violates their rights to due process.
The judge found that the right to travel by air is constitutionally protected for individuals listed on the no-fly list, arguing that forcing them to travel long distances in other ways fails to take into account “the realities of our modern world.” She requested that the government more fully explain how it determines who goes on the list so she can ensure that the plaintiffs’ right to due process is not infringed upon.
An attorney with the ACLU says he is pleased with the results of the civil litigation, asserting that the case proves that the government deprives them of their liberties, damages their reputations by labeling them as potential terrorists and making it nearly impossible for them to free themselves of suspicion. He added that he believes the judge will again side with the plaintiffs upon receiving additional information from the government, noting that the government has yet to offer any explanation as to why individual citizens appear on the no-fly list.
Currently, individuals who have been banned from flying can visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website and fill out an online form to request the government to reconsider their status. If they remain on the no-fly list, they can ask for their case to be heard by a judge. However, this process does not involve a hearing where both sides are allowed to present evidence, but rather a judicial review.
The civil court system allows Oregon residents to take legal action against the government when they believe their rights have been curtailed or violated. Likewise, the appeals process lets such individuals challenge results of cases they believe to be unfair.
Source: ABC News, “Plaintiffs Win Round in Oregon No-Fly Suit” Steven Dubois, Aug. 29, 2013