October 4, 2012 - The American Civil Liberties
Union will argue tomorrow in federal appeals
court on behalf of Nick George, a college
student who was interrogated, handcuffed and
detained for nearly five hours at the
Philadelphia International Airport in 2009
because he was carrying a set of English-Arabic
language flashcards for his college studies.
The lawsuit charges that Transportation Security
Administration agents, FBI agents and
Philadelphia police officers violated George’s
Fourth Amendment right to freedom from
unreasonable seizure and his First Amendment
right to freedom of speech.
It includes additional claims against the U.S.
government. Both the U.S. government and the
federal agents moved to dismiss the case, and in
September 2011 the U.S. District Court for the
Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied those
The federal agents have appealed that decision.
The U.S. and the Philadelphia police officers
did not appeal, and the case against them will
move forward regardless of the outcome of this
appeal. “Nick George didn’t pose a threat to
flight security and locking him up simply for
studying a certain language is clearly
unconstitutional,” said Zachary Katznelson.