Monday, February 20, 2012

Ibrahim v. Department of Homeland Security (9th Cir. - Feb. 8, 2012)

Imagine that the Department of Homeland Security erroneously placed you on the No-Fly List, and as a result, you were not allowed to take a flight, were detained for several hours in the airport, had your visa revoked, and were left outside the United States for years with no way to return.  Could you sue?

Maybe.  Maybe not.  But to even find out, it's going to take litigation with unprecedented magnitude.

Exemplified by this case.  Which started over six years ago.  And still isn't even past the pleading stage.  And has also been forced to be pending in multiple different Courts of Appeals.  So the plaintiff is probably looking at another five to ten years before the suit finally gets resolved.  Enjoy Malaysia in the meantime.

Don't think it could possibly happen to you?  Don't be so sure.  Read Judge Willie Fletcher's opinion.  The List is both expansive and far from perfect.  Maybe they couldn't revoke your visa if you're a U.S. citizen.  But enjoy driving or a week on the train if you ever need to go cross-country.  Oh, yeah, and good luck if you want to visit the Eiffel Tower.  I guess you could take a ship.  But you're more likely going to have to settle for the cheap knock-off in Las Vegas.