JURIST Supported by the University of Pittsburgh
PAPER CHASE NEWSBURSTDigest RSS feedFull RSS feed
Serious law. Primary sources. Global perspective.


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Rights groups claim enhanced US airline passenger screening unconstitutional
Jaclyn Belczyk at 8:54 AM ET

[JURIST] Civil rights groups on Monday opposed stricter screening procedures [TSA press release] for passengers entering the US from 14 countries, calling the measures unconstitutional. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] called on [press release] the US government to "adhere to longstanding standards of individualized suspicion and enact security measures that are the least threatening to civil liberties and are proven to be effective." Former FBI agent and national security policy counsel with the ACLU Michael German said:


Singling out travelers from a few specified countries for enhanced screening is essentially a pretext for racial profiling, which is ineffective, unconstitutional and violates American values. Empirical studies of terrorists show there is no terrorist profile, and using a profile that doesn't reflect this reality will only divert resources by having government agents target innocent people. Profiling can also be counterproductive by undermining community support for government counterterrorism efforts and creating an injustice that terrorists can exploit to justify further acts of terrorism.

Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) [advocacy website] National Executive Director Nihad Awad said [press release] that the new screening measures amount to "religious profiling" against Muslims. A spokesperson for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) [official website] maintained that the new procedures do not amount to racial or ethnic profiling [CNN report]. Pro-troop advocacy group Move America Forward (MAF) [advocacy website] responded [press release] that "law enforcement [needs] to have the freedom and ability to scrutinize and follow up on anyone without fear of being labeled a 'racist' or 'profiling.'"

The enhanced screening procedures, which will affect travelers entering the US from Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, come after Nigerian national Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to detonate an explosive device on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 last month. Abdulmutallab has been charged [JURIST report] with willfully attempting to destroy an aircraft or aircraft facilities in violation of 18 USC § 32 [text]. Last week, US President Barack Obama announced steps [JURIST report] the federal government is taking to address air travel security following the incident. He said that as soon as the attempted attack was discovered, officials increased screening requirements and increased the number of air marshals aboard flights. He also confirmed that he had ordered the review of how the US no-fly list [JURIST news archive] is managed as well as screening and other security procedures.





Link |  | print | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | Facebook page

For more legal news check the Paper Chase Archive...


LATEST LEGAL NEWS

 Federal appeals court upholds controversial Wisconsin collective bargaining law
3:15 PM ET, April 20

 Egypt court sentences 23 Islamists to prison
2:23 PM ET, April 20

 Proposed Brazil anti-terrorism law sparks human rights concerns
12:41 PM ET, April 20

 click for more...

Get JURIST legal news delivered daily to your e-mail!

LATEST FORUM

Unprecedented Notice of Warrantless Wiretapping in a Closed Case
DOMESTIC
Ramzi Kassem
CUNY School of Law

ABOUT

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible, ad-free format.

CONTACT

Paper Chase welcomes comments, tips and URLs from readers. E-mail us at JURIST@jurist.org