Federal judge rules terrorism watchlist violates due process clause

Federal judge rules terrorism watchlist violates due process clause

A judge for the US District Court Eastern District of Virginia held Thursday that the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB) does not provide adequate due process procedures to Americans who wish to contest their inclusion on the list.

Twenty-three US citizens filed suit alleging an array of injuries arising from their inclusion on the list and no acceptable remedy to remove themselves from the list. Those injuries included: not being allowed to board flights, additional screening when flying, and adverse experiences at the border or with immigration. None of the plaintiffs were notified of their inclusion on the watchlist.

The court held that the plaintiffs did not have an appropriate opportunity to request their removal from the watchlist.

[Department of Homeland Security Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP)], in its current form, provides no notice concerning whether a person has been included or remains in the TSDB, what criteria was applied in making that determination, or the evidence used to determine a person’s TSDB status. Nor does the DHS TRIP process provide the Plaintiffs with an opportunity to rebut the evidence relied upon to assign them TSDB status. Given the consequences that issue out of a person’s inclusion in the TSDB, the Court concludes that DHS TRIP, as it currently applies to an inquiry or challenge concerning inclusion in the TSDB, does not provide to a United States citizen a constitutionally adequate remedy under the Due Process Clause.

The court thus granted the Pplaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment.