SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Would-be airline passengers can challenge their inclusion on a federal “no-fly” list, the 9th Circuit ruled. The court reinstated a lawsuit brought by Rahinah Ibrahim, a Malaysian Muslim, who claimed she was unlawfully detained at the San Francisco Airport.
Agents with the Transportation Security Intelligence Service, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, told police over the phone to prevent Ibrahim from flying from San Francisco to Malaysia because she was on the no-fly list.
“Without explaining their reasons, (the police) handcuffed Ibrahim in front of her 14-year-old daughter and took her to the police station.” She was released two hours later.
Citing a lack of jurisdiction, the district court dismissed Ibrahim’s lawsuit against the airport, United Air Lines, Bondanella, and various local and federal officials.
The appellate court reversed on a 2-1 decision, concluding that passengers have a right to demand information from the government and present evidence on why they should not be on the list.
“Just how would an appellate court review the agency’s decision to put a particular name on the list?” Chief Judge Kozinski asked. “There was no hearing before an administrative law judge; there was no notice-and-comment procedure. For all we know, there is no administrative record of any sort for us to review. So if any court is going to review the government’s decision to put Ibrahim’s name on the No-Fly List, it makes sense that it be a court with the ability to take evidence.”
Judge Smith dissented.