The government’s one-sided and secretive system of adding travelers to its no-fly list violates basic constitutional protections of due process, lawyers for 13 people argued in federal court in Portland, The Oregonian reports. The government gives no notice to travelers put on the list, refuses to share the reasons for their inclusion and doesn’t allow them to directly challenge the information or innuendo that has led to the listing, said Hina Shamsi of the American Civil Liberties Union. “This comes down to the government asking all of us to trust it,” Shamsi said. The Constitution demands a better process before the government can deprive citizens of certain freedoms, she said.
The hearing comes after U.S. District Judge Anna Brown ruled that the plaintiffs have a protected interest in international travel and to their reputations that can’t be taken away without a fair process. The plaintiffs, all U.S. citizens or permanent residents who were blocked from flying, include Sheikh Mohamed Kariye, religious leader of Oregon’s largest mosque. Some plaintiffs learned that they couldn’t fly only when dozens of officers swarmed them at the airport, humiliating them, she said. None has been charged with a terrorism offense. Justice Department lawyer Amy Powell contended that the government already has “robust quality controls” that help ensure the no-fly list includes only people who pose a threat. Travelers who believe they’re wrongly placed on the no-fly list can submit additional information through a Department of Homeland Security redress process, Powell said.