No-Fly motions argued

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"ACLU challenge"

American Civil Liberties Union lawyers presented arguments in a motion on Thursday involving the first nationwide class-action lawsuit challenging the government's controversial No-Fly lists, part of the Secure Flight plan.

"As a result of flawed and ineffective No-Fly lists, innocent passengers are being singled out virtually every time they fly and subjected to delays, interrogations and even detentions," said Reginald T. Shuford, an ACLU senior staff attorney and lead counsel in the case.

The hearing came in response to a move by federal lawyers to prevent the case from being heard in the U.S. District Court for Western Washington. Attorneys for the Transportation Security Administration and the Homeland Security Department claim that the district court lacks jurisdiction to review the case. ACLU officials argued that the motion is an attempt by federal officials to prevent the case from going forward.

"The government is saying that American trial courts have no power to review TSA policies," said Aaron Caplan, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Washington. "The request for dismissal is an attempt to avoid any meaningful judicial review of government practices."

ACLU officials originally filed the class-action lawsuit in April against the Transportation Security Administration for its use of the former Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System (CAPPS) II, which has since been revamped and renamed Secure Flight.

The lawsuit charges that a substantial percentage of employees for the 15 domestic airlines have access to a list of people deemed terrorist threats to air travel. Airport officials, border and immigration agents, law enforcement officials and those with access to other security databases may view the so-called No-Fly list.

The list ranks civil liberties groups because scrutinized individuals cannot confirm if they are on the list, making it difficult to correct errors, critics have said.

Individuals named as representative plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit include:

John Shaw, 75, a retired Presbyterian minister, from Sammamish, Washington;

Michelle D. Green, 36, a Master Sgt. in the U.S. Air Force;

David Nelson, 35, an attorney from Belleville, Ill.;

David C. Fathi, 41, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU National Prison Project in Washington, D.C.;

Mohamed Ibrahim, 51, a coordinator for an immigrants' rights project with the American Friends Service Committee in Philadelphia;

Alexandra Hay, 22, a student at Middlebury College in Vt.;

Sarosh Syed, 27, a graduate student at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.;


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