Rights Attorneys to Argue Post-9/11 Sweeps Case in Supreme Court Week of Trump Inauguration
December 22, 2016, New York – Today, Center for Constitutional Rights Legal Director Baher Azmy responded to the Obama administration’s repeal of the National Security Exit-Entry Registration System (NSEERS). The program was initiated in 2002 to target people in the U.S. coming from 25 predominantly Muslim countries, and while it has lain dormant since 2011, it was dismantled by the Department of Homeland Security today because it “no longer provides a discernable public benefit as the program has been rendered obsolete.” Mr. Azmy said:
We welcome the decision of the Obama administration to formally dismantle the legal architecture of NSEERS; the program did so much harm to so many people, reinforcing stereotypes and treating entire populations as suspicious based only on their religion and nationality. A broad coalition of grassroots groups and leaders in the AMEMSSA community led the campaign to end NSEERS: this victory shows the strength of the movement, which any new administration will have to contend with in the coming years. We stand with these communities as we collectively face a set of dangerous challenges from the bigoted incoming Trump administration.
At the same time, we will be before the Supreme Court next month to challenge another feature of the post-9/11 overreach and abuse of executive power, urging the Court to affirm that high-level Bush administration officials, including former Attorney General John Ashcroft, may be sued for their roles in the post-9/11 profiling and abuse of Muslim, Arab, and South Asian men rounded up in immigration sweeps and, based on nothing more than their race, religion, ethnicity, and status, held as suspected terrorists until cleared by the FBI. At a time when President-Elect Trump promises to implement unlawful policies such as a Muslim registry and a return to torture, we look to the courts to assert their role as a check and deterrent to executive abuse of power. The case, Ziglar v. Abbasi (formerly Turkmen v. Ashcroft) will be argued January 18, two days before the inauguration.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.