Latif, et al. v. Holder, et al. - ACLU Challenge to Government No Fly List
In June 2010, the ACLU and its affiliates in Oregon, Southern California, Northern California, and New Mexico filed a legal challenge on behalf of 10 U.S. citizens and permanent residents who cannot fly to or from the U.S. or over American airspace because they are on the government’s secretive No Fly List (an additional three people have since joined the suit). The plaintiffs, who include four U.S. military veterans, have never been told why they are on the list or given a reasonable opportunity to get off it. Being unable to fly has severely affected their lives, including their ability to be with their families, go to school, and travel for work. Oral argument on motions for summary judgment was held in June 2013 in Portland. Two months later, the court agreed with the ACLU that constitutional rights are at stake when the government puts Americans on the No Fly List. In the same ruling, the court asked the ACLU and the government to submit additional information about appeals court review of the No Fly List redress procedure to help the court decide whether the process as a whole violates the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of due process. The additional information has been submitted, and oral argument will be in Portland on March 17.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon on behalf of:
|Ibraheim (Abe) Mashal, a U.S. citizen and veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, is a traveling dog trainer and father of three. He is unable to serve clients who are not within driving distance of his Illinois home because he is unable to board a plane.|
|Ayman Latif, a U.S. citizen and disabled Marine veteran.|
|Raymond Earl Knaeble, a U.S. citizen and U.S. Army veteran.|
|Steven Washburn, a U.S. citizen and U.S. Air Force veteran who was prevented from flying from Europe to the United States or Mexico; he eventually flew to Brazil, and from there to Mexico, where he was detained and finally escorted across the border by U.S. officials.|
|Abdullatif Muthanna and Nagib Ali Ghaleb, two American citizens who were prevented from flying home to the United States after visiting family members in Yemen.|
|Faisal Nabin Kashem, Elias Mustafa Mohamed, and Mashaal Rana, three American citizens who were prevented from flying home to the United States after studying abroad in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.|
|Mohamed Sheikh Abdirahman Kariye, a U.S. citizen and resident of Portland, Oregon who was prevented from flying to visit his daughter who was in high school in Dubai at the time.|
|Stephen Persaud, Amir Meshal, and Salah Ali Ahmed, three American citzens who were prevented from boarding domestic flights.|
In August 2010, the ACLU petitioned the court for preliminary relief so that the plaintiffs stranded abroad because they were on the list could fly home to the U.S. In response, the government let each of these plaintiffs fly home. It also instituted a repatriation procedure by which U.S. citizens or green-card holders stranded outside of the United States due to apparent inclusion on the No Fly List can secure clearance to fly to the United States on an approved flight. Instead of opposing the request, the government let each of them fly home. Yet, the government still refused to tell our clients why they hadn’t been able to fly back in the first place or whether they would be able to fly in the future. In February 2011, the complaint was amended at the request of the court.
The lawsuit was filed against officials at the Justice Department, the FBI, and the Terrorist Screening Center, which creates and controls the No Fly List. In May 2011, the district court dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction, ruling that the lawsuit should have been filed against the Transportation Security Administration, which administers the redress process for travelers denied boarding. The ACLU appealed, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, sitting in Portland, heard the case on May 11, 2012. On July 26, 2012, the Ninth Circuit unanimously reversed the district court’s decision and held that the case should go forward in district court, where it now proceeds.
The case is now proceeding before the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon. In a motion for partial summary judgment, the ACLU asked the court to rule that the inadequate the redress process for people on the list violates the Constitution’s guarantee of due process.
Today, the government's No Fly List consists of thousands of people who have been barred altogether from commercial air travel with no meaningful chance to clear their names, resulting in a vast and growing group of individuals whom the government deems too dangerous to fly but too harmless to arrest. It is unconstitutional for the government to put people on secret lists and deny them the right to travel without even basic due process.