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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

WSJ: Law Creating Passport Mark for Sex Offenders Faces First Challenge, Lawsuit targets ‘unique identifier’ for passports of those convicted of sex crimes involving minors By Joe Palazzolo




Update: 

Too Soon to Fight Sex Offender Passport Mark, April 13, 2016
Judge tosses out challenge to sex offender passport law, April 13, 2016

Original Post:


Law Creating Passport Mark for Sex Offenders Faces First Challenge, March 29, 2016
Lawsuit targets ‘unique identifier’ for passports of those convicted of sex crimes involving minors
By Joe Palazzolo

A new federal law requiring the State Department to mark the passports of certain convicted sex offenders is expected to face its first test in federal court on Wednesday. 

A group of convicted sex offenders has asked a federal judge in Oakland, Calif., to block the measure pending the outcome of a February lawsuit they filed that challenges the law’s constitutionality. 

The law, International Megan’s Law to Prevent Demand for Child Sex Trafficking, mandates the State Department to add a “unique identifier” to passports of Americans convicted of sex crimes involving minors and that U.S. officials to alert foreign governments when those Americans travel abroad. 

The judge, Phyllis J. Hamilton, is scheduled to hear arguments on Wednesday on whether to suspend implementation of the passport mark and the notification requirement. 

The lawsuit’s plaintiffs say the law violates the U.S. Constitution by forcing people convicted of sex offenses to bear the equivalent of a “proverbial Scarlet Letter” on their passports. The First Amendment limits what the government can compel people to divulge. The complaint asks a federal judge to strike down the law as unconstitutional. 

“For the first time in the history of this nation, the United States Government will publicly stigmatize a disfavored minority group using a document foundational to citizenship,” says the lawsuit, filed on Feb. 8 in federal district court in Oakland, Calif.