Fourth Amendment and No-Fly List Developments

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by | June 25, 2014

In previous posts, I discussed recent developments in Fourth Amendment jurisprudence (see, e.ghere, and here) and the due process and liberty interests related to the No-Fly List (see here).  Over the last two days the Supreme Court and a federal judge in Oregon issued major rulings that further build on these developments.

First, today the Supreme Court issued an opinion in Riley v. California (opinion here) banning the police practice of conducting warrantless searches of cell phone data.  In a unanimous ruling, the court held that the police may not, without a warrant, search digital information in a cell phone that has been seized from an individual incident to arrest.  The Court held that this data and the information in it is fundamentally different than the other belongings seized from one’s pockets.

Second, a federal judge in Oregon ruled yesterday that the Department of Homeland Security must provide increased rights related to the no-fly list to satisfy the constitution’s protections. At a minimum, an individual who is on the list should have the right to access relevant unclassified information and a meaningful opportunity to challenge their inclusion on the list.  This decision does not apply nation-wide, but it provides and interesting break in the ice as similar litigation is on-going across the country, including here in the Eastern District of Virginia.