Recently, a federal district court in the Eastern District of Virginia ruled that the government’s “terrorist Watchlist,” used by the TSA and disseminated to thousands of other “partners” with whom the government shares it, is unconstitutional. A copy of the opinion in that case, which was filed by CAIR in 2016, is available here.
CLCMA congratulates Nihad Awad, Lena Masri, Gadeir Abbas and the rest of the CAIR litigation team on this wonderful ruling. “CLCMA is glad to see that the Eastern District of Virginia, as with some other courts in recent decisions (https://www.clcma.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Doc.-57-Order-re-Motions-to-Dismiss.pdf), recognizes the standing of individuals to challenge the government’s deprivation of their rights to travel freely, without the necessity that the harm reach the level of placement on the No Fly list,” observed Christina Jump, CLCMA’s Civil Litigation Department Head. “The damage caused by this unlawful deprivation extends to damage to the reputations of those involved, as properly noted by the Court. We are also pleased to see the thorough analysis by Judge Trenga acknowledging the ‘wide-ranging consequences’ of placement on the Watchlist, from its chilling effect on travel rights to the impact of the TSC sharing an individual’s Watchlist status with thousands of private and public entities. Judge Trenga rightly held that the vagueness of the standard for inclusion on the Watchlist, combined with ‘the lack of any meaningful restraint’ on placement, is precisely what the Due Process Clause in the Constitution protects against. Judge Trenga also rightly recognized the fallacy of the ‘remedy’ of the DHS Traveler Redress (TRIP) process, calling it a ‘black box’ with ‘no independent review.’”
“We commend the CAIR litigation team for this hard fought victory, and look forward to continuing to fight for our own clients who also bravely challenge actions which deprive them of their own constitutionally protected rights, without furthering the government’s actual interests in national security,” Ms. Jump continued. “Abiding by the laws of this land and the constitutional rights guaranteed to all strengthens our nation; violating those rights weakens it.” CLCMA expects there will likely be appeals and further clarifications needed for implementation of this decision, and looks forward to helping in the fight to protect the constitutional rights of all in the United States, without any unjustified deprivation.