What It Takes to Get on a No-Fly List

Not much, it seems. This is from Andrew Sullivan, a card-carrying conservative, via Brad DeLong:

Meet Professor Walter F. Murphy, emeritus of Princeton University. He’s a former Marine, with five years of active service and 19 years in the reserve, and a legal critic of Roe vs Wade and supporter of the Alito confirmation. He’s also on the Terrorist No-Fly List:

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.

Just a heads up about what these people are up to.

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  1. Anonymous

    How stupid. If it was a no-fly list, how come he flew? This is just the random extra screening that happens every day. Been there, done that, glad they are checking randomly. This is an inexperienced flyer getting his feelings hurt and getting inflamed by an ill-informed egghead working at the ticket counter.

    Get real!

  2. Yves Smith

    I suggest you get your facts in order before making assertions about Murphy being an inexperienced flier (what grounds do you have for that idea?) and your claim that this was a random check. The phrasing of the Sullivan post suggested otherwise, and had you followed the link trail, you would have found your suspicions were in error.

    Professor Walter Murphy is emeritus of Princeton University. As the Mark Graber post that Andrew Sullivan cites says, “For those who do not know, Professor Murphy is easily the most distinguished scholar of public law in political science. His works on both constitutional theory and judicial behavior are classics in the field. ” It is more likely than not that he has traveled extensively in the course of his work. In fact, this time he was flying to an academic conference, so this would seem to be a routine activity for him.

    The Graber post quotes Murphy: “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.”

    Murphy goes on to say:
    “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. “

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