Academic Freedom and National Security

Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology v. Department of Homeland Security, No. 1:20-cv-11283 (D.C. MA, July 13, 2020)(amicus brief filed)

Following a legal challenge, supported by an amicus brief in which the AAUP joined, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rescinded a directive that, during the COVID-19 crisis, foreign students engaged entirely in online study would not be allowed in the United States. In March 2020, DHS and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), issued guidance that, for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency, F-1 and M-1 visa holders were allowed to participate in online education while remaining in the United States. On July 6, 2020, DHS issued a new directive that rescinded this COVID-19 exemption for international students, requiring all students on F-1 visas whose university curricula are entirely online to depart the country and barring any such students currently outside the United States from entering or reentering the United States. Shortly after DHS issued the directive, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institution of Technology filed a complaint in the US District Court in Massachusetts for declaratory and injunctive relief, to prevent the directive from taking effect so that thousands of international students can continue to participate in educational opportunities in the United States, even if their course of study is online.

Trump v. Hawaii, 138 S. Ct. 2392 (2018)

On June 26, 2018 the Supreme Court of the United States by a 5-4 vote rejected a challenge to President Trump’s September 2017 Presidential Proclamation 9645 (Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry into the United States by Terrorists or other Public-Safety Threats)—referred to as the “travel ban”—restricting immigration to the United States by citizens of eight countries, most of which are predominately Muslim. In an opinion by Chief Justice Roberts, the majority relied on the national security justifications for the ruling and held that the travel ban is fully consistent with Congress’s Immigration and Nationality Act as well as the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in dissent, lamented that the court had “blindly” endorsed “a discriminatory policy motivated by animosity toward Muslims.”

ASA, AAUP, AAADC, BCPR, and Habib v. Secretaries of Homeland Security and State, 588 F. Supp. 2d 166 (D. Mass. 2008)

The AAUP joined several other organizations in filing suit against the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and Secretary of State, challenging the American consul in South Africa's denial of Professor Habib’s application for a non-immigrant visa on the ground he “engaged in terrorism” and thus was ineligible for a visa.

John Doe, Inc. v. Mukasey, 549 F.3d 861 (2d Cir. 2008 )

The plaintiffs, an internet service provider and others challenged the constitutionality of National Security Letters and their accompanying “gag orders.”  

ACLU v. NSA, 493 F.3d 644 (6th Cir. 2007 )

Following 9/11, the  National Security Agency (NSA) undisputedly eavesdropped without warrants international telephone and e-mail communications in which at least one of the parties was “reasonably” suspected of al Qaeda ties.  Prominent journalists, scholars, attorneys and national nonprofit organizations who frequently communicate by phone and e-mail with people in the Middle East filed suit, argued that the NSA wiretapping program violates their First Amendment rights by impairing their ability to obtain information from sources abroad, conduct scholarship, and engage in advocacy.