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Federal court rejects legal challenge by 2 Michigan men over enhanced airport security

Sep 14, 2017

Extra security hurdles at airports experienced by two Michigan men, both U.S. citizens, did not violate their constitutional rights. That's according to a recent unanimous ruling by a three judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. 

The two men, plaintiffs in the case, claim they were placed on a federal government list that designates people for enhanced security screenings in airports due to threats they may pose to civil aviation or national security. 

The men say that as a result, they missed flights and suffered stress and humiliation.

"They are literally harassing these individuals each and every time they go fly, asking them the same questions over and over again," said Nabih Ayad, attorney for both men.

The Appeals Court ruled that the extra screening experienced by the plaintiffs may have inconvenienced them, but it did not amount to an infringement of their fundamental right to travel.

"The burdens alleged by the Plaintiffs, to the extent they provided specific details about those incidents, can only be described as incidental or negligible and therefore do not implicate the right to travel," wrote Circuit Judge Eric Clay. 

Clay distinguished the plaintiffs in this case from those in which plaintiffs cannot fly at all because they have been placed on a no-fly list.

"Importantly, Plaintiffs have not actually been prevented from flying altogether or from traveling by means other than airplane," wrote Clay.

Ayad, lawyer for the plaintiffs, expressed disappointment in the appellate panel's decision. 

"The judges' ruling basically gives the green light for the government to discriminate against a certain class of people or religion," said Ayad.

Ayad said his clients are considering appealing the decision to all the judges of the 6th Circuit or to the U.S. Supreme Court.