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CAIR Files Amicus Brief with Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Over First Amendment Freedom of Association Claims

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 10/5/2018) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today announced the filing of an amicus (friend of the court) brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in support of en banc (before the entire bench) review of the Ninth Circuit’s legal standard applied to First Amendment freedom of association claims.

READ CAIR’s Amicus Brief  

CAIR’s amicus brief seeks review by the complete Ninth Circuit of a panel opinion issued last month in Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Becerra. In that opinion, a Ninth Circuit panel held that so long as a government’s collection of sensitive donor information “increases. . .investigative efficiency” and so long as the collection is for “nonpublic” use, there can be no First Amendment concerns.

CAIR supports the confidentiality of donor information and asserts that the Ninth Circuit’s statement of First Amendment law dramatically weakens constitutional protections for all freedom of association claims. CAIR regularly challenges the constitutionality of the federal terrorist watchlist, including on First Amendment freedom of association grounds. 

As explained by CAIR’s amicus brief, “The federal terrorist watchlist system rests on a foundation of bulk collection and analysis of American Muslims’ associations.”

SEE: CAIR Files Broad Challenge to Watchlisting System, Including TSA’s Quiet Skies Program

“The experience of the American Muslim community leaves no doubt that government officials monitor their associations in order to falsely label them as terrorists,” said CAIR National Litigation Director Lena F. Masri. “Robust First Amendment protections are vital to civil liberties for all Americans.”

Last month the Ninth Circuit recognized CAIR’s contention that an individual’s presence on a federal watchlist has “actual and palpable consequences,” including that watchlist status causes “acquaintances, business associates, and perhaps even family members” to shun individuals the government has dubbed terrorists.

SEE: CAIR, CAIR-Oregon Welcome Federal Appeals Court Decision to Allow No-Fly List Claims to Proceed

“CAIR is committed to dismantling the guilt-by-association standards governments use to unconstitutionally monitor American Muslims,” said CAIR Trial Attorney Carolyn Homer.

Community members are being urged to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR’s Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by going to:

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

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CONTACT: CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri, 248-390-9784,; CAIR Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas, 720-251-0425,; CAIR Trial Attorney Carolyn Homer, 202-516-4724,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,


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