Politics

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Muslim No-Fly List Case

The Supreme Court granted the Trump administrations request on Nov. 22 to take up a case from several Muslim men who claim they were wrongfully placed on the U.S. “no-fly list” for refusing to act as government informants and are seeking damages from federal officials.

The Justice Department argued in a brief that lawsuits like this must be curtailed because they will deter officials “from performing their duties by the prospect of litigation and potentially severe personal financial consequences.”

The no-fly list contains around 81,000 names, fewer than 1,000 of which belong to U.S. citizens, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said in June 2016.

The decision to hear the case came after Judge Anthony J. Trenga of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled on Sept. 4 that the governments Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB)—a watchlist of more than 1 million known or suspected terrorists, including around 4,600 U.S. citizens—violates the constitutional rights of those included on it. The no-fly list is a small subset of the TSDB.

Being wrongly included on the watchlist can lead to great inconvenience and discomfort, Trenga wrote in his opinion, noting that some of the plaintiffs in the litigation before him have been handcuffed at ports of entry and put through invasive secondary inspections at airports.

In the case the Supreme Court has decided to hear, cited as Tanzin v. Tanvir, the court didnt provide reasons for its decision, according to its custom.

The high court could prohibit lawsuits against federal officials for violating religious freedom after granting the administrations request to hear the case that questions whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) permits suits for damages against individual federal officials, in this case, members of the FBI.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit said the statute clearly allows such lawsuits and gave the plaintiffs permission to pursue their claims.

In legal terms, the case concerns the scope of the remedy Congress provided in the RFRA “to those whose exercise of religion has been substantially burdened by the government,” according to the Trump administrations petition to the court.

The question is whether the passage in the RFRA that allows litigants to “obtain appropriate relief against a government” means they can seek an award of money damages against federal employees sued in their individual capacities.

“The answer to that question raises fundamental separation-of-powers concerns with a significant impact on Executive Branch operations nationwide, warranting this Courts review.”

Muhammad Tanvir and other plaintiffs claim their naRead More – Source

Show More

Related Articles