Judge Rules Americans Have a Right to Air Travel, Takes Aim at ‘No Fly’ List
A Federal Judge in Portland Oregon ruled yesterday that air travel is not a “mere convenience” as the government maintains, but a constitutional right that cannot be taken away without due process. The decision puts in jeopardy the use of the current ‘No Fly’ list because the government does not even inform citizens their names are being added, much less give them an opportunity to contest their inclusion. Judge Anna J. Brown ruled:
“Although there are perhaps viable alternatives to flying for domestic travel within the continental United States such as traveling by car or train, the Court disagrees with Defendants’ contention that international air travel is a mere convenience in light of the realities of our modern world. Such an argument ignores the numerous reasons an individual may have for wanting or needing to travel overseas quickly such as for the birth of a child, the death of a loved one, a business opportunity, or a religious obligation… the Court concludes on this record that Plaintiffs have a constitutionally-protected liberty interest in traveling internationally by air, which is affected by being placed on the list.”
The lawsuit was brought by the ACLU on behalf of thirteen people, including four former servicemen, whose names appear on the government’s No Fly List, though they say they have no idea why. News of the favorable decision was posted on the ACLU website last evening.