Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Victory for John Does!

See recent postings at the The Center for Vigilant Freedom. Excerpt from a recent posting, quoting Frank Gaffney:

Thanks to the leadership of Sens. Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins, the chairman and ranking minority member, respectively, of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and especially that of Rep. Pete King, Sen. Collins’ counterpart on the House Homeland Security Committee, legislation along the lines of that adopted by an overwhelming bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives last May at Rep. King’s initiative will shortly become law.

The language will provide protection against the sorts of harassment lawsuits filed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) after several unidentified individuals reported six Muslim imams engaged in suspicious – and frightening – behavior prior to boarding a USAir flight in November 2006. CAIR has been identified as a front organization for the Muslim Brotherhood and is an un-indicted co-conspirator in an alleged terrorism-financing plot.


Michael Travis said...

From Jihad Watch;

"John Doe" provision: hold your euphoria

The "John Doe" provision protecting passengers who report suspicious behavior is back -- or is it? Paul Green at GreensPiece reports a disturbing element of the new version:

My initial euphoria at the revivification of the "John Doe" protection provision in the Homeland Security bill is much tempered by a look at the actual language to which its opponents agreed. It has quite enough wiggle room to enable the sort of mischief at which attorneys and grievance activists have become adept.

Moreover, any hopes that this measure, if passed, is going to "nullify, in part" the "flying imams" lawsuit (an outcome predicted by Washington Times reporter Audrey Hudson at
are likely to be dashed. The devil is in the details:

"Any person who, in good faith and based on objectively reasonable suspicion, makes or causes to be made, a voluntary report of covered activity to an authorized official shall be immune from civil liability under federal, state, and local law for such report."

The problem, as Allahpundit points out at, is the phrase "objectively reasonable suspicion." This differs from Rep. Peter King's stand-alone version of the bill, H.R. 2291, which reads:

"Any person who, in good faith, makes, or causes to be made, a voluntary disclosure of any suspicious transaction, activity, or occurrence … to any employee or agent of the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Transportation, or the Department of Justice, any Federal, State, or local law enforcement officer, any transportation security officer, or any employee or agent of a transportation system shall be immune from civil liability to any person for such disclosure under any Federal, State, or local law."

Requiring a passenger's suspicion to be "objectively reasonable" will enable lawyers such as Omar Mohammedi, the CAIR activist who is representing the "flying imams," to quibble about what is "reasonable" and what is "objective." It will be argued that objections to loudly-voiced professions of Islamic faith at airport gates are entirely reasonable to pious Muslims, and therefore reporting such behavior as "suspicious" is actionable. It will further be argued that any suspicion of Muslims by non-Muslims cannot be objective but only subjective, driven by "Islamophobia." It is not to be supposed that either Mohammedi, his clients, or their backers are going to roll over and play dead if this provision passes.

Yankee Doodle said...

Great post, and great update, Michael!

The trouble is, too many lawyers are professional weasels, and with enough petrodollars, they can hire the best. In those guys' hands, anything gives them room to maneuver. Don't you remember Bill Clinton? "That depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is."

Always On Watch said...

I was just about to update the post with the info you provided. But you've already got it here.