Imagine a reality where your ability to move freely in this country is limited, where you never know when you visit an airport if this is the time you will be stopped from taking your flight. And imagine if once this happened, you could never find out even why you are being prevented from travel.
That is the reality for thousands of Americans, people who find themselves on the government’s no fly list.
We can all fly free now, as the methods used to manage the no fly list have been declared unconstitutional in federal court. In her 85 page decision, U.S. District Judge Anna Brown found that the inability for citizens to not only find out why they were on the list, but to challenge their inclusion, was insufficient, and the entire process flawed.
ACLU National Security Project Director Hina Shamsi had this to say in regards to the case:
For years, in the name of national security the government has argued for blanket secrecy and judicial deference to its profoundly unfair No Fly List procedures, and those arguments have now been resoundingly rejected by the court.
Our clients will finally get the due process to which they are entitled under the Constitution. This excellent decision also benefits other people wrongly stuck on the No Fly List, with the promise of a way out from a Kafkaesque bureaucracy causing them no end of grief and hardship. We hope this serves as a wake-up call for the government to fix its broken watchlist system, which has swept up so many innocent people.
With a reported 20,000 people on the no fly list, this is now a light of hope for a return to normalcy for these hard-working Americans.
This decision comes as a relief to many travellers within the US, who faced an uncertain fate when they needed to fly in this country, and to the rest of us who know that the United States itself, is a little bit stronger for it.