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Federal Judge Strikes Down U.S. Terror Watchlist


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#1 LFC

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 02:32 PM

The terror watchlist has been controversial for quite some time. Some (many?) people don't know they're on it, when the find out they are they can't find out why they're on it, and it's very hard to get off of it. It can impact many facets of a person's life, restricting liberties with zero due process. A federal judge struck it down saying the standard being used to add somebody to the list was too vague.

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After years of abuse and secrecy, court’s decision seen by rights advocates as very welcome but “long overdue”

A federal judge on Wednesday ruled that the government’s terror watchlist violates the civil rights of Americans placed on it, opening the door for a major piece of legislation from the global war on terror being overturned.

“This is a really important ruling, long overdue,” said Jameel Jaffer, director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. “The watchlist is overbroad, opaque, and arbitrary—a civil liberties train wreck.”

The ruling (pdf) stemmed from a lawsuit brought by 19 Americans on the list represented by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

“Today’s opinion is a victory for the more than one hundred American Muslims we represent and for the thousands of American Muslims who are currently stigmatized by the watchlist,” CAIR national litigation director Lena Masri said in a statment.

The New York Times broke the story Wednesday evening:

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Being on the watchlist can restrict people from traveling or entering the country, subject them to greater scrutiny at airports and by the police, and deny them government benefits and contracts. In a 32-page opinion, Judge Anthony J. Trenga of United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia said the standard for inclusion in the database was too vague.

“The court concludes that the risk of erroneous deprivation of plaintiffs’ travel-related and reputational liberty interests is high, and the currently existing procedural safeguards are not sufficient to address that risk,” Judge Trenga wrote.

“About time somebody did something about this,” tweeted journalist Dan Froomkin.

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