Friday, September 12, 2008

Ibrahim v DHS: no fly list challenged in court

Anita Ramisastry has a nice article on the recent Ibrahim v. Department of Homeland Security case in the the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The court ruled, in a split 2-1 decision, that Stanford University graduate and mother of four, Rahinah Ibrahim, effectively has a right to challenge her inclusion on the no-fly list compiled by the 'Terrorist Screening Center' (a branch of the FBI) in a court of law before a judge and jury.

Chief Judge Alex Kozinski said:

"Just how would an appellate court review the agency's decision to put a particular name on the list? There was no hearing before an administrative law judge; there was no notice-and comment procedure... For all we know, there is no administrative record of any sort for us to review... So if any court is going to review the government's decision to put Ibrahim's name on the No-Fly List, it makes sense that it be a court with the ability to take evidence"

Professor Ramasastry says:

"This ruling is very significant, for this is the first judicial decision granting individuals the right to seek review of their status on the "no fly" list before a judge and jury. This decision will allow individuals to seek additional evidence about their inclusion on the "no fly" list, and it will allow trial courts to serve as independent checks on the work of the TSA...

passengers who have been adversely impacted by the "no fly" list will be able to seek vindication of their rights before an independent tribunal - rather than merely asking the TSA to de-list them. As for Ibrahim, while this was a procedural ruling, it was a very favorable one, and while it has not yet given her her day in court, it has allowed her to go to court to try and clear her name."

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