Appeals Court Reinstates Lawsuit Over NYPD Surveillance of Muslims
This is from last week, but just now came to my attention. I haven’t seen anyone mention it here, so I decided to create a page for it. Emphasis added is mine:
A federal appeals court has reinstated a civil rights lawsuit against the New York Police Department that accuses police of spying on Muslims in New Jersey.
A three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday reversed a lower court’s ruling last year that found police did not violate the rights of Muslims by routinely putting some people and businesses under surveillance in an effort to prevent terrorism.
U.S. Circuit Judge Thomas Ambro wrote that the plaintiffs’ complaints tell a narrative in which “there is standing to complain and which present constitutional concerns that must be addressed and, if true, redressed.” He adds:
“What occurs here in one guise is not new. We have been down similar roads before. Jewish-Americans during the Red Scare, African-Americans during the Civil Rights Movement, and Japanese-Americans during World War II are examples that readily spring to mind.
“We are left to wonder why we cannot see with foresight what we see so clearly with hindsight—that ‘[l]oyalty is a matter of the heart and mind[,] not race, creed, or color.’ “
There’s also this, from The Associated Press, regarding the judge who previously dismissed the case (again, emphasis mine):
In dismissing the lawsuit, U.S. District Judge William Martini had concluded the police could not keep watch “on Muslim terrorist activities without monitoring the Muslim community itself” and concurred with the city in blaming reporting by The Associated Press, which exposed the surveillance program, for any harm.
The appeals court said the attempt to blame the AP was akin to saying, “What you don’t know can’t hurt you. And, if you do know, don’t shoot us. Shoot the messenger.”
For the record, Judge William Martini is a George W. Bush appointee and former Republican politician who served one term in the House of Representatives for New Jersey’s 8th district from 1995-1997. He was was defeated for re-election in 1996. Judge Ambro is a Bill Clinton appointee who came from a private practice. Judicial appointments matter.
The NYPD’s detailed & invasive surveillance of law-abiding Muslims not suspected of any criminal activity whatsoever is appalling—I fail to see how anyone could NOT consider it discriminatory and therefore unconstitutional. Here’s the full text of the ruling:
Here’s a direct link to the document in case the PDF embedding isn’t working.