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Professor Who Criticized President Bush Added to Terrorist No-Fly’ List

April 12, 2007 by  


Courtesy Michael Roston

A top Constitutional scholar from Princeton who gave a televised speech that slammed President George W. Bush’s executive overreach was recently told that he had been added to the Transportation Security Administration’s terrorist watch list. He shared his experience this weekend at the law blog Balkinization.

Walter F. Murphy, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Emeritus, at Princeton University, attempted to check his luggage at the curbside in Albuquerque before boarding a plane to Newark, New Jersey. Murphy was told he could not use the service.

“I was denied a boarding pass because I was on the Terrorist Watch list,” he said.

When inquiring with a clerk why he was on the list, Murphy was asked if he had participated in any peace marches.

“We ban a lot of people from flying because of that,” a clerk said.

Murphy then explained that he had not marched, but had “in September, 2006, given a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the Web, highly critical of George Bush for his many violations of the Constitution.”

The clerk responded, “That’ll do it.”

Murphy was allowed to board the plane, but was warned that his luggage would be “ransacked.” On his return trip, his luggage was lost.

Murphy is a decorated Marine who served in the Korean War and was a reservist for 19 years. Mark Graber, who presented the blog post, adds that there were other reasons that Murphy was an unlikely terror suspect.

“While he holds some opinions, most notably on welfare, similar to opinions held on the political left, he is a sharp critic of ROE V. WADE, and supported the Alito nomination,” he wrote.

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