- Robert Weed
Supreme Court says being listed as a terrorist is "No harm"
Last Friday, in a case called TransUnion v Ramirez, the Supreme Court said the Fair Credit Reporting Act cannot give you the right to sue TransUnion for putting your name on their OFAC terrorist warning list. Led by Justice Brent Kavanaugh, a 5 to 4 majority held that people have no right to sue unless they can prove TransUnion actually showed someone the list with your name. TransUnion just putting you on the list isn’t enough.
Justice Clarence Thomas, considered the court’s most conservative Justice, strongly disagreed. He said that the law as written clearly covered TransUnion’s OFAC warning list. Justice Thomas often says it’s the job of the courts to read and apply the law–not re-write it. He said the court was re-writing a law they didn’t like.
The three liberal justices went on to point out one other angle. TransUnion was sending out false information because they made money. TransUnion couldn’t prove that anybody among the 8165 people in their OFAC warning list was really on the State Department’s official OFAC list! (Would any actual terrorist or wanted drug kingpin come to America to open a credit card or buy a car? Would they do it in their own name?)
TransUnion was making money selling a list that was totally inaccurate! Here’s what the 9th Circuit said: “TransUnion’s misconduct was repeated and willful. TransUnion used name-only OFAC searches for more than a decade, resulting in thousands of false positives and not a single known actual match identified.” Not s single known actual match.