Federal judge says terrorist watchlist is unconstitutional

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Article date: 
6 September 2019
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National News
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A federal judge in Virginia has ruled that the government's terrorism screening database (TSDB) is unconstitutional because people on the list are not given an adequate opportunity to contest their inclusion. The ruling is a victory for a group of almost 20 Muslim Americans who sued the government over the list in 2016.

"There is no independent review of a person's placement on the TSDB by a neutral decisionmaker," Judge Anthony Trenga wrote on Wednesday. "Individuals are not told whether or not they were or remain on the TSDB watchlist and are also not told the factual basis for their inclusion."

As a result, the judge concluded, the watchlist system is unconstitutional.

The government maintains several different lists for suspected terrorists. These include the no-fly list, which, as its name implies, prohibits certain people from flying in the US. The TSDB is a larger list believed to hold more than a million names. People on the list aren't prohibited from flying, but they can face unpleasant consequences when they travel, especially internationally....