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Archive for the ‘Administrative Law’ Category

Dr. Abdel Moniem Ali El-Ganayni, an Egyptian native, has lived in the United States since the 1980s and worked as a nuclear physicist for Bettis Laboratory. In 2007, El-Ganayni passed out copies of a Muslim religious tract called "The Miracle in the Ant" at a prison. He was grilled by the Bettis Laboratory security manager and then the FBI. Investigators suggested that some of the scientific information contained in the work, specifically that some ants can burst their bodies open and secrete a deadly substance as a defense mechanism, could be construed as an apology for suicide bombing. Soon after the interviews, the Department of Energy (“DOE”) revoked El-Ganayni’s clearance and fired him without providing specifics, saying in a letter that it believed he "may be subject to pressure, coercion, exploitation, or duress which may cause [him] to act contrary to the best interests of national security. Specifically, the circumstances or conduct involve conflicting allegiances."

El-Ganayni filed suit against the DOE to obtain a hearing to contest the decision and alleged that he was fired because he (1) spoke out against the FBI, the war in Iraq, and U.S. foreign policy in Pittsburgh-area mosques and (2) worked as an Imam at a prison where he ran afoul of officials for distributing Muslim literature. The trial court dismissed El-Ganayni’s petition, and he appealed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Third Circuit upheld the trial court’s decision, noting that El-Ganayni’s claim "could never be meaningfully litigated" and that the "outcome is pre-ordained" due to the broad national security powers given to the Executive Branch. The court based its decision on the 1988 case Department of the Navy v. Egan, in which the United States Supreme Court ruled that while agency action is presumptively reviewable, that presumption is limited when it comes to national security issues. The court explained as follows:

The legal framework applicable to that claim would demand from the DOE an explanation of its decision to revoke El-Ganayni’s clearance, and allow a factfinder to weigh the DOE’s arguments in support of that decision. Egan forbids both.

For the full story, click here.

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Under Utah law, an injured worker’s compensation can be reduced if the worker also qualifies for Social Security benefits.  In a 2007 case, Nathan Merrill was permanently disabled while working for Dakota Cabinets.  He received $395 a week in workers’ compensation benefits.  Because Merrill qualified for Social Security, his workers’ compensation benefits were reduced.  The Utah Supreme Court held that the law was unconstitutional because it classified individuals based on their receipt of Social Security benefits without any rational basis for doing so.  For the full story, click here.

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