Tune In: The constitutional conundrum of the No Fly List

Most people are familiar with the No Fly List, part of the Secure Flight program run by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). What most don’t realize, however, is how similar that list is to a system used more than 50 years ago – one ultimately deemed unconstitutional.

Mrs. Shipley’s Ghost: The Right to Travel and Terrorist Watchlists (University of Michigan Press) combines history, policy analysis and the law, beginning with an introduction to the No Fly List’s intellectual ancestor: Ruth B. Shipley. Her grandmotherly appearance belied the immense power she wielded as chief of the U.S. State Department Passport Office from 1928 to 1955, when she almost single-handedly decided which Americans could travel outside the country and which would be kept at home.

Author Jeffrey Kahn (pictured left), an associate professor in SMU’s Dedman School of Law, writes that “Mrs. Shipley’s ghost” now permeates a massive computerized system that diffuses her authority across multiple agencies – but still denies due process and infringes on citizens’ constitutionally protected rights. He discusses his book with KERA Radio in an interview scheduled to air from 1-2 p.m. Wednesday, June 5, 2013. Listen on your radio at 90.1 FM, or click here to listen on your computer or other electronic device.

> Read more about Mrs. Shipley’s Ghost from SMU News

About Kathleen Tibbetts

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