No Fly List: Procedural Due Process and Hurdles to Litigation [September 18, 2014]   [open pdf - 345KB]

"In order to protect national security, the government maintains various terrorist watchlists, including the 'No Fly' list, which contains the names of individuals to be denied boarding on commercial airline flights. Travelers on the No Fly list are not permitted to board an American airline or any flight on a foreign air carrier that lands or departs from U.S. territory or flies over U.S. airspace. Some persons have claimed that their alleged placement on the list was the result of an erroneous determination by the government that they posed a national security threat. In some cases, it has been reported that persons have been prevented from boarding an aircraft because they were mistakenly believed to be on the No Fly list, sometimes on account of having a name similar to another person who was actually on the list. As a result, various legal challenges to placement on the list have been brought in court. […] The Due Process Clause provides that no person shall be 'deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.' Accordingly, when a person has been deprived of a constitutionally protected liberty interest, the government must follow certain procedures. Several courts have found that placement on the No Fly list may impair constitutionally protected interests, including the right to travel internationally, and the government's redress procedures must therefore satisfy due process. […] Resolution of the issue is currently pending as at least two federal courts have ruled that the government's redress procedures for travelers challenging placement on the No Fly list violate due process."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R43730
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