Civil Liberties

Why No-Fly?

Due process


Americans who have been parked on the federal government's no-fly list and don't know why may soon have more options for fighting the designation. In August, U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown of Portland ruled that Americans have a right to fly, and that the federal government thus must give due process to those it seeks to deprive of that right.

The ruling comes in response to an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawsuit representing 13 people on the list. They say they don't know why they're barred from flying, and the government will not tell them.

Currently, those who end up on the government's no-fly list have the option of filling out an online form to be removed. No-fly listers may also request a judicial review if rejected. But at no point is evidence presented to justify the person's inclusion. There is no ability to defend one's right to fly.

Brown's ruling does not, however, give the ACLU's clients leave to take wing again. She has asked the government for more information about its system of redress so that she may determine whether the plaintiffs' due process rights are being respected.