A group of Muslims whom the FBI placed on the highly opaque No-Fly List in retaliation for refusing to inform on their communities can sue the responsible FBI agents, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Thursday. Justice Clarence Thomas found that a 1993 law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, plainly provides a right to seek financial damages against government officials that impede their freedom of worship. (Justice Amy Coney Barrett did not rule, as the case preceded her tenure.) Vindication came as “a soaring feeling,” said Mohammad Tanvir, one of four men who found themselves unable to board planes after resisting FBI pressure.
“For decades now, government surveillance and anti-Muslim policies have been an unavoidable fact of life for American Muslims. Because of this ruling, American Muslims now know that they can speak out and fight back in court against injustice,” said Matthew Callahan, an attorney for the civil-rights group Muslim Advocates, which filed a brief in support of Tanvir and the others.