U.S. Court: American citizens have a constitutionally protected right to travel by air

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) launched the case before a U.S. District Court in Oregon on behalf of 13 plaintiffs who are on the U.S. government’s secretive no-fly list. 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. All 13 have sought redress through the Department of Homeland Security’s Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP), but to no avail.In a 38-page ruling in Latif v. Holder, the ACLU’s challenge to the No-Fly List, U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown recognized that the Constitution applies when the government bans Americans from the skies. She also asked for more information about the current process for getting off the list, to inform her decision on whether that procedure violates the Fifth Amendment guarantee of due process. The judge rejected government arguments that security officials can stop a person from flying while leaving intact their constitutional freedom to travel and rejected the idea that “all modes of transportation must be foreclosed before an individual’s due-process rights are triggered.” Travelers “have a constitutionally-protected liberty interest in traveling internationally by air, which is affected by being placed on the no-fly list.”However, the ruling was an only interim step in the case, which is still gathering evidence on the adequacy of the TRIP appeals procedure.Source: ACLUFull text of judgement avialable here>>.

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