Wednesday, 8 September 2004

Appeal of decision on airline ID demands

The pending Federal court case challenging the secrecy of U.S. government orders requiring airline passengers to display identification credentials (or be denied common carrier transportation or subjected to more intrusive search), the secret procedure through which these orders were issued, and their Constitutionality has now been appealed to the Circuit Court following an initial dismissal (on, in part, purely jurisdictional grounds that the case belonged in the Circuit Court in the first place) by the District Court.

A new Web site at has background on the case and, most importantly, copies of the legal documents filed with the Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco, including briefs on the government’s motion for introduction of secret in camera evidence and secret ex parte hearings from which the plaintiff/appellant and his lawyers would be excluded, as well as an interesting array of friend of the court briefs. Documents from the initial consideration for the case by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, also in San Francisco, remain available at .

[Addendum, 9 September 2004: Brian Doherty of Reason magazine, whom I met as one of the few other reporters to attend the District Court oral argument in the original case, has an interesting commentary on the appeal: “I’ve stated elsewhere that I thought Gilmore, even if he wins, will probably lose: that a court-ordered end to legal requirements to show ID to travel will merely morph those requirements into the policies of the companies providing the transportation. (Only with Amtrak will that raise clear constitutional problems.)” I agree with the first half of Doherty’s argument: some airlines have already added ID requirements to their conditions of carriage. But to say that this raises clear Constitutional questions (leaving aside the stuatutory obligations of airlines as common carriers, which may be crucial to the lgality of ID requirements as well as “No-Fly” decisions) only with Amtrak is to ignore the applicability of the First Amendment’s guarantee of “the right of the people… peaceably to assemble”, as applied to to travel as an act of assembly.]

Link | Posted by Edward on Wednesday, 8 September 2004, 11:06 (11:06 AM)
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