The No-Fly List is an Abomination

(…)nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; (…)
– The Fifth Amendment

One of the main components of justice is holding people accountable for their actions. But what happens when somebody is falsely accused? That is why we have due process of law. So nobody can be deprived of their life, liberty, or property without just cause. Without due process of law, the State could find you Guilty for whatever crime for whatever reason, even if you were just doing things ‘they’ didn’t like.

Except that is exactly what we have with the No-fly list. People can be added and removed at will by the FBI. This is absolutely a breach of our constitutional right to due process. People are added to the list with no judicial oversight and no hope of appeal. Not only that, but individuals on the No-Fly list don’t even get notified that they’re on it.

The No-Fly list prevents a voluntary transaction between two parties regarding an aircraft. The No-Fly list is binding and not just a recommendation to carriers. What is worse is the No-Fly list targets one of the most important liberties at all: to leave the country.

Leaving the country is an important right. If you feel unsafe from the government that is sworn to protect you, or if you’re otherwise unhappy with the nation, you should be able to leave. While the No-Fly list doesn’t stop people from leaving, it stops them from leaving conveniently.

But recently there is a more important right on the line with the No-Fly list: the right to keep and bear arms, as enshrined in the Second Amendment to our Constitution.

The right to bear arms is definitely one of our liberties as defined in the fifth amendment. The idea that we should give the FBI the power to unilaterally, without due process and without notification or hope of appeal, revoke that right is ridiculous.

Fortunately, their attempts so far have failed. But votes like 55-45 in the Senate on whether to give the Attorney General and Judges the ability to ban people from purchasing firearms set a dangerous precedent. Maybe Gun Rights are above reproach, but what about free speech, what about assembly? What other rights can we be denied without due process by virtue of being put on a list?

Being denied rights you are guaranteed because you’ve been silently added to the government shitlist is terrifying. I hope the program is not expanded beyond flying.


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