Odin Feldman Pittleman filed an amicus brief on behalf of The Rutherford Institute and Cato Institute, a Washington think tank, in Elhady v. Kable, Case Nos. 20-1119, 20-1311 (4th Cir).The brief urges the court to uphold due process protections provided to individuals added to the Terrorist Screening Database (colloquially the “Watchlist”).
The case concerns 23 American citizens listed as “suspected terrorists” on a secret government database. This listing resulted in fewer employment opportunities, forceful arrests (often at gunpoint), arbitrary detentions, electronic seizures, and diminished ability to travel abroad and throughout the United States.
On Sept. 4, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, in an opinion by Judge Trenga, held that the Watchlist was constitutionally defective.
OFP’s amicus brief argues in support of the 23 Americans and the district court’s opinion. Historically, from the foundations of our country to now, the government consistently asks courts for deference to its judgments. This deference is often at the expense of due process protections for vulnerable citizens. OFP argues that individuals must be given a meaningfully opportunity to challenge government actions that diminish their fundamental freedoms. As a result, U.S. persons added to the Watchlist are entitled to a meaningful process to contest the government’s action and the opportunity for judicial review.
Bradley D. Jones, an attorney in the firm’s Litigation Practice, is Counsel of Record to The Rutherford Institute and Cato Institute. The OFP team also included Nicole Desbois, another member of OFP’s Litigation Group. The brief was filed on June 1 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
The Rutherford Institute is an international nonprofit civil liberties organization headquartered in Charlottesville, VA. Rutherford represents individuals whose civil liberties are threatened and educates the public about constitutional and human rights issues. The Cato Institute is a Washington think tank and research foundation. Cato works to advance individual liberty, free markets, and limited government. To those ends, Cato conducts conferences and publishes books, studies, and the annual Cato Supreme Court Review.
To read the amicus brief, click here.