Aug 30 2013

International travel by air is a Constitutional right

In a preliminary ruling in a lawsuit brought by the ACLU three years ago on behalf of a group of people who have been prevented by the U.S. government from traveling by air, a Federal judge in Oregon has found (1) that international air travel is a Constitutional right, and (2) that a categorical ban by the government on the exercise of that right can only be issued in accordance with due process.

Those shouldn’t be surprising findings. But given that the U.S. government has never sought to follow normal legal procedures by asking a court to issue a no-fly injunction against an individual, and that none of the goverment’s extrajudicial administrative no-fly orders has ever been reviewed on its merits by any court, the latest ruling by District Judge Judge Anna Brown in the case of Latif et al. v. Holder is an important step toward bringing DHS controls on travel within the rule of law.

The ruling is the latest in a series of decisions which have finally begun to uphold the right of travelers to due process and juducial review of the restrictins on their movements. The decison in the Oregon no-fly case echoes similar findings in the past year by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Gulet Mohamed and by the 9th Circuit and the District Court for the Northern District of California in the case of Rahinah Ibrahim.

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