A Federal judge in Oregon ruled the government’s no-fly list rules are unconstitutional because there is no meaningful opportunity to challenge placement on the list, the LA Times reported Tuesday. Judge Anna Brown said in her ruling international travel is not a mere convenience or luxury in the modern world but a necessary aspect of liberties sacred to a free society. She ordered the Justice Department to redraft the no-fly procedures to provide due process without jeopardizing national security, CNN noted.
The thirteen plaintiffs who brought the lawsuit included two U.S. Marine Corps veterans; an imam at a Portland mosque; the owner of a dog training business; two Islamic Studies students and an Arabic language student, all studying overseas; a U.S. Army veteran; and a U.S. Air Force veteran, according to the court’s ruling.
The no-fly list has been the subject of controversy since its inception, because of its secrecy, would-be flyers’ inability to effectively challenge placement on the list, and some high profile gaffes. By 2012, the Huffington Post reported the no-fly list had swollen to twice its 2009 size, or about 20,000 people. A larger watch list exceeded a half million names.
Here are some of the head-scratchers found on the no-fly list over the years:
* According to CBS News, the names of 14 of the 9-11 hijackers were on the no fly list five years after their deaths.
* Other “unlikely terrorists” on the list disclosed by CBS News back in 2006 included the president of Bolivia and the head of the Lebanese parliament.
* Late U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy told the Washington Post in 2004 he had been stopped at airports five times in a month because his name was accidentally listed. It took him and his staff three weeks to get his name off the list.
* Nine-term U.S. Congressmen John D. Lewis (D-Ga.) found himself on the no-fly list and lacked Kennedy’s Irish luck or entrenched connections to get his name off.
* Singer and songwriter Cat Stevens made the no-fly list, possibly because of his charitable contributions. His troubles ensnared Catherine Stevens, wife of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, who kept getting stopped and questioned at checkpoints due to the similarity of her name to his.
* New Jersey Cub Scout Mikey Hicks wasn’t famous until 2010 when the New York Times reported on his troubles with the list. Those troubles started when he was a baby and escalated when officials insisted on patting him down at age two. When he was eight, his parents were fed up with increasingly aggressive pat-downs. It turned out Mikey himself was not on the no-fly list but an adult with the same name was on the security “selectee” list and Mikey was caught up in the Department of Homeland Security’s confusion.
* In 2012, Luis Montano, a gate agent with 13 years tenure with American Airlines, nearly lost his job over his name appearing on the no-fly list. His name was ultimately removed from the list as secretly as it went onto the list, with Montano unable to ascertain why it had been there.