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Federal Judge Rules US No-fly List Violates Constitution 276

New submitter dmitrygr sends this news from 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. ... "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," [U.S. District Judge Anna Brown] wrote in her 65-page ruling (PDF). "Accordingly, on this record the court concludes plaintiff's inclusion on the no-fly list constitutes a significant deprivation of their liberty interests in international travel," Brown said.
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Federal Judge Rules US No-fly List Violates Constitution

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  • Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spiritplumber ( 1944222 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @06:45PM (#47310517) Homepage
    Now let's hope that the ruling is respected. What are ways by which it couldn't be?
  • Finally (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Blue Stone ( 582566 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @06:45PM (#47310521) Homepage Journal

    Finally someone (of note) says what everyone has been thinking (and saying).

    Without the ability to challenge, it amounts to totalitarianism.

  • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TechyImmigrant ( 175943 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @06:50PM (#47310553) Homepage Journal

    When the judge issues an arrest warrant for someone preventing someone boarding an airplane due to being on a no fly list, I'll believe it will make a difference.

  • About time (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @06:50PM (#47310555) Homepage

    It's okay having a no fly list but not having a way to appeal being on it is an abomination. The irony is that sometimes actual terrorists are allowed to fly so they don't get tipped off the US is watching them. That's downright brilliant there. If the US is going to ban someone from traveling, they need to admit it and provide an appeals process.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @07:09PM (#47310681)

    Finally someone who recognises that the US Constitution is not the 'Law of the Land', rather a framework on what laws may exist.

  • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nukenbar ( 215420 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @07:12PM (#47310705)

    Any change to the law has to start with a lower court ruling somewhere.

  • Re:Nice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @07:16PM (#47310729)

    As somebody once said: the no-fly list is a list of people that are too dangerous to be allowed to fly, but not sufficiently dangerous to bring in and actually charge with some sort of crime.

    In what universe does this even make any sort of sense? You think I associate with terrorists? Charge me. Don't pussy foot around and pretend that I'm some sort of quasi-danger but not important enough to bring up on charges. Either I'm a danger to society and should be arrested, or I'm not (and should be allowed to go wherever I want, using whatever means of travel I want, within the boundaries of the law.)

  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @07:23PM (#47310785) Journal

    Apparently merely holding hearings on terrorism is reason enough to land on it!

    It was actually a name mismatch. Never attribute to malice that which can be attributed to incompetence.

  • Re:WTF (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @07:32PM (#47310845)

    If you read a bit about US history, you'll see that these things take time, but eventually (a couple of decades) things usually get fixed.

    Let's hope that's true for the No Fly List, Obamacare, NSA spying, and a lot of the other b.s. Republican and Democratic presidents have pushed through.

  • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @07:44PM (#47310927)

    Now let's hope that the ruling is respected. What are ways by which it couldn't be?

    Stop policing it with government employees. Allow anyone to fly, then give the airlines API access to the list and tell them in a not-so-subtle way that they are responsible for anything that would happen should they allow any of those people on the plane.

  • Re:About time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Snotnose ( 212196 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @07:44PM (#47310931)
    Hell, not knowing you're on it until denied boarding is an abomination. What ever happened to due process? Oh I forgot, it's the terrorists/children/drugs/$fear_of_the_day
  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @07:47PM (#47310957) Homepage Journal

    The compromise found within the Bill of Rights essentially listed a number of prohibitions so the new government absolutely knew that they could in no way interfere with this core set of rights.

    This is precisely correct. Sadly, it didn't work. Primarily, I think because the constitution is toothless: Violate it, and... nothing happens.

  • Re: Awesome! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @07:48PM (#47310963)

    The only thing the three branches are beholden to is the People. Everything that is wrong with the government is directly attributable to the People allowing it. Every day we don't start a bloody revolution is one more day for the Evil to dig it's claws in... Twenty years from now you'll wish we had revolted when the getting was good...

  • Re:About time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fnj ( 64210 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @08:03PM (#47311053)

    Why is it okay to have a no-fly list? Is there some reason there couldn't be a "carefully check" list? Is it really necessary or moral to deny someone the freedom of movement without even a hint of a chargable crime? Why not simply search them before boarding? IMO; Totalitarianism, that's why.

    The no-fly list. the TSA checking everyone before they board the plane to make sure they are not carrying means to do harm.

    Pick one. One or the other is STUPID. It is pointless to have both.

  • by fnj ( 64210 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @08:07PM (#47311079)

    You want to know what I think is an abomination? Yeah, I know, nobody wants to know that, but I'm going to say it anyway. The requirement that one must have "standing" in order to challenge a law in court. That is BULLSHIT. Challenging laws should be EASY. Making them should be hard.

  • by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @08:15PM (#47311143)

    However once you combine incompetence with malice, then you have a solid foundation to create a government department.

  • by TheGavster ( 774657 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @08:18PM (#47311163) Homepage

    The trick here is that he was powerful enough to get them to look it up and find out it was a mismatch. You or I (presuming you're not a Senator posting under a pseudonym?) wouldn't get that luxury.

  • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bite The Pillow ( 3087109 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @08:25PM (#47311227)

    Who requests an arrest warrant?

    Do judges just sit around reading the news, becoming outraged periodically, and issue arrest warrants?

    I'm really curious how this process works.

  • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordLimecat ( 1103839 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @08:36PM (#47311297)

    People like to talk about how nasty the government is. But it seems like if theres ever a class of government official you really dont want to piss off-- no matter who you are or how much money you have-- its judges. Judges can make your life real difficult in very short order, and it doesnt really matter if you're the head of Microsoft.

    Adding a judge to a no-fly list as retribution would be the start of a very entertaining saga.

  • Re: Awesome! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @08:54PM (#47311427)
    your AR-15 isn't going to do much against an Apache which can unleash pure hell that only a few people have even seen

    And the Apache isn't going to do much when it can't fly because people with AR-15s have eliminated fuel, ammo, and maintenance depots and/or the means to resupply them, not to mention the non-trivial number of servicemen who walk away from their posts when the order is given to fire upon their countrymen.
  • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @09:22PM (#47311613) Homepage

    Technically speaking, the game they were playing was not putting people on the nofly list but putting people's names on the no fly list. So it was not a particular individual that was banned from flying but a particular name that was banned from flying and if you happened to share that name you were also banned. So it makes that list a legal loop hole because no particular individual was banned but also far worse because many people were banned for no legal reason at all. Remember this no biometric data that is usually and normally used to identify people was ever used, no finger prints, no DNA and no photo. So it was all theatre and punitive punishment targeting particular individuals for largely political reasons and designed to be ramped up over time to create non-citizens or citizens without rights, basically all those persons considered to be enemies of the 1% as substantiated by it costing a lot of money to get your name off the list.

  • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @09:41PM (#47311733) Journal

    Not all, but almost.

    This kind of law does need to go through the lower courts though.

    There is a pretty small window of opportunity to challenge these kind of laws though. They already have secret courts where evidence does not need to be shown to the defendant. And I'm guessing that the government will fight any effort on the part of the person on the no-fly list to see the evidence against them.

    The notion that evidence in a trial such as this could be classified is abhorrent. It violates everything underpinning our legal system.

    I don't understand completely how this all has gone so far so fast. Just 15 years ago, this all would have been unthinkable.

  • Re:Awesome! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zippthorne ( 748122 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @01:08AM (#47312617) Journal

    With? the constitution does not even address what is "necessary part of modern (or otherwise) life." It addresses a short list of things that the government is allowed to do in carrying out its duties, and a list of what those duties are, and list of inalienable rights that we want to be doubly sure the government doesn't even try to do. Many of the items on that list are far from necessary to survive, although violations are burdensome.

    If the constitution is in force and respected, we don't need to prove that we need to fly. The government needs to prove that it has a need to restrict flying, and that it has the authority to do so. Please see, for instance, Amendments 9 and 10.

  • Re:Awesome! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @05:24AM (#47313357) Journal

    where in the constitution is the federal government given the power to restrict people's travel liberties without due process?

    Well they might uh.... you know cross state lines and er... sell something so Interstate Commerce!

    The nice thing is of course that they only might need to engage in commerce, not actually do it. Or in fact they might be flying within the state and then commerce with someome who has come in from out of state too. So still interstate commerce!

    And in fact even if everyone stays within the state hte fact that you're selling something to someone means they might not have purchased from across state lines too.

    In fact even if you sit in a cardboard box in a hole that means you're actively failing to buy from out of state so that's covered by interstate commerce too.

  • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Monoman ( 8745 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @06:10AM (#47313499) Homepage

    How is a PUBLIC list of PUBLICLY TRIED AND CONVICTED sexual offenders the same as a SECRET list of people who MAY OR MAY not have done anything wrong the same? Isn't one is a list of public facts while the other is a secret list of accusations.

  • Re:Awesome! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dywolf ( 2673597 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @09:33AM (#47314409)

    there are many rights taken for granted that arent in the constitution explicitly, but that we expect as a fact of modern life.
    freedom of movement is one such fundamental human right.

    work, family, whatever the situation, there are many things that may require travel, and may be time senstitive. the ability to travel quickly, which means via air, is the status quo in these situations. to be denied that, is to be denied a basic freedom of movement. yes you can still go by train or car, but these are so much slower, that they effectively become impractical. you become put at a disadvantage, particuarly economically ("you can't fly? no job for you"), emotionally ("tell dad not to die, it'll take me 3 days to get there on the road"), etc.

    so while the USC may not explicitly grant a right to fly, the idea of a no fly list fundamentally afects how we can live our lives, and the quality of those lives. as such, there needs to be a very compelling government interest, as a representation of the people will to impose something upon ourselves, in doing so.

A committee takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom. -- Parkinson