terrorist watch list

Volokh, Eugene VOLOKH at law.ucla.edu
Sun Apr 8 16:14:25 PDT 2007


    I should note that the fact that the FBI monitors some antiwar
rallies and records what some people said there is a different matter
from putting someone on a terrorist watch list simply because he's been
in a peace march.  Consider, by analogy, pro-life rallies:  If someone
is (for instance) viewed as threatening anti-abortion-provider violence,
and is detained or otherwise burdened simply because he showed up at a
pro-life function, that would be very bad.  If, on the other hand, the
FBI checks into what's going on at some pro-life rallies, records which
people are saying things that suggest they might indeed be involved in
anti-abortion-provider violence (or vandalism or other illegality), and
then follows up on those leads to investigate actual incidents of such
illegal conduct, that's a different story.
 
    Eugene
 


________________________________

	From: conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu
[mailto:conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu] On Behalf Of AAsch at aol.com
	Sent: Sunday, April 08, 2007 2:07 PM
	To: conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu
	Subject: Re: terrorist watch list
	
	
		I don't know if the list from the Pentagon "an
anti-terrorist threat database" obtained by the ACLU including peace
activists has any relation to "no fly" lists, but that January 2007 info
is at:
	 
	http://www.aclu.org/safefree/spyfiles/28024prs20070117.html
	 
	Allen Asch
	 
	In a message dated 4/8/2007 1:39:56 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
VOLOKH at law.ucla.edu writes:

		Surely putting someone on a terrorist watch list simply
because
		he's been in a peace march is outrageous.  So would a
clerk's being
		instructed to say so, if it weren't true -- deliberately
spreading such
		rumors would itself tend to deter people's speech.
		
		    Still, I wonder whether this is indeed a real
government policy,
		or just a myth that the clerk picked up somewhere and
was passing along
		without much support.  Again, if it is really the
policy, it's appalling
		-- but I just wonder whether it is.
		
		    Eugene
		
		> -----Original Message-----
		> From: conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu 
		> [mailto:conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu] On Behalf
Of Jeffrey Segal
		> Sent: Sunday, April 08, 2007 11:13 AM
		> To: conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu
		> Cc: wmurphy37 at comcast.net
		> Subject: terrorist watch list
		> 
		> 
		> I pass this story along, with permission, from Walter
Murphy.
		> 
		> 
		> Don't know if this missive is list-worthy or not.
Even tho' 
		> I'm the person who was immediately affected,the
problem does 
		> pertain to basic constitutional issues with which all
of us, 
		> of whatever political persuasion, are concerned in our

		> teaching and scholarship.  What follows are excerpts
for a 
		> narrative I prepared for Sen Jeff Bingaman (D, NM).
If you 
		> think the larger issues it raises are appropriate for
the 
		> list, please so distribute.  If not, then not.  As
usual I 
		> rely on your judgment.
		> 
		> 
		> On 1 March 07, I was scheduled to fly on American
Airlines to 
		> Newark, NJ, to attend an academic conference at
Princeton 
		> University, designed to focus on my latest scholarly
book, 
		> Constitutional Democracy, published by Johns Hopkins 
		> University Press this past Thanksgiving.
		> 
		> 
		> When I tried to use the curb-side check in at the
Sunport, I 
		> was denied a boarding pass because I was on the
Terrorist 
		> Watch list.  I was instructed to go inside and talk to
a 
		> clerk.  At this point, I should note that I am not
only the 
		> McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence
		> (emeritus) but also a retired Marine colonel.  I
fought in 
		> the Korean War as a young lieutenant, was wounded, and

		> decorated for heroism.  I remained a professional
soldier for 
		> more than five years and then accepted a commission as
a 
		> reserve office, serving for an additional 19 years.
		> 
		> I presented my credentials from the Marine Corps to a
very 
		> polite clerk for American Airlines.  One of the two
people to 
		> whom I talked asked a question and offered a
frightening 
		> comment:  Have you been in any peace marches?  We ban
a lot 
		> of people from flying because of that.  I explained
that I 
		> had not so marched but had, in September, 2006, given
a 
		> lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the Web,
highly 
		> critical of George Bush for his many violations of the

		> Constitution.  That'll do it, the man said.
		> 
		> 
		> After carefully examining my credentials, the clerk
asked if 
		> he could take them to TSA officials.  I agreed.  He
returned 
		> about ten minutes later and said I could have a
boarding 
		> pass, but added: AI must warn you, they're going to
ransack 
		> your luggage.  On my return flight, I had no problem
with 
		> obtaining a boarding pass, but my luggage was lost.
Airlines 
		> do lose a lot of luggage and this loss could have been
a mere 
		> coincidence.  In light of previous events, however,
I'm a tad 
		> skeptical.
		> 
		> I confess to having been furious that any American
citizen 
		> would be singled out for governmental harassment
because he 
		> or she criticized any elected official, Democrat or 
		> Republican.  That harassment is, in and of itself, a
flagrant 
		> violation not only of the First Amendment but also of
our 
		> entire scheme of constitutional government.  This
effort to 
		> punish a critic states my lecture's argument far more 
		> eloquently and forcefully than I ever could.  Further,
that 
		> an administration headed by two men who had had other 
		> priorities than to risk their own lives when their
turn to 
		> fight for their country came up, should brand as a
threat to 
		> the United States a person who did not run away but
stood up 
		> and fought for his country and was wounded in battle,
goes 
		> beyond the outrageous.  Although less lethal, it is of
the 
		> same evil ilk as punishing Ambassador Joseph Wilson
for 
		> criticizing Bush's false claims by outing his wife,
Valerie 
		> Plaime, thereby putting at risk her life as well as
the lives 
		> of many people with whom she had had contact as an
agent of 
		> the CIA.  ...
		> 
		> I have a personal stake here, but so do all Americans
who 
		> take their political system seriously.  Thus I hope
you and 
		> your colleagues will take some positive action to
bring the 
		> Administration's conduct to the attention of a far
larger, 
		> and more influential, audience than I could hope to
reach.  I 
		> am ready to help in any such endeavor. ...
		> 
		> So there we are, as the Irish would say.  I wonder
what would 
		> have happened had I been a citizen of Arab descent.
		> 
		> 
		> Peace,
		> 
		> W
		> 
		> 
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