Judge Rebukes Obama Admin on No-Fly List, Haphazard 'State Secrets' Argument

In a surprise ruling, a federal court will not dismiss a case contesting the constitutionality of the "no fly" list. Even more astounding is that the court forbade the administration from using the ubiquitous "state secrets" argument to get the suit thrown out. 

The Federation of American Scientists reports:

...Judge [Anthony J.] Trenga yesterday issued his order denying the government motion for dismissal of the case. He said that “the information presented to date by the defendants in support of the state secrets privilege as to these documents is insufficient” to justify suspending the proceeding, though he declined to rule definitively on whether the state secrets privilege did or did not apply to any of the documents. He did allow that some of the documents appear to contain security sensitive information that may be subject to a law enforcement privilege.

This is no way makes it likely the "no fly" list itself will be thrown out, but maybe – just maybe – the suit could shed some much-needed light on the methodology the state uses when asserting a citizen should no longer be able to fly, or be harassed every time they try. 

The policy is a huge infringement on civil liberties, but the states secrets argument has so far been enough to give the administration a pass. 

No longer:

“The state secrets privilege is a judicially created rule of evidence, not a doctrine of sovereign immunity or non-justiciability,” [Judge Trenga] wrote. This means that it can be properly used to prevent the introduction of specific items of evidence, but not to sweepingly exclude whole domains of law and policy from litigation or due process.

According to the article, this is "the first time that such a motion for dismissal has ever been rejected in a state secrets case." So, a small step forward, both in getting the "no fly" list either repealed or modified to be less discriminatory, and in rebuking an arrogant administration used to getting its way whenever it cries, "national security!"

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