April 25, 2013 4th Circuit published opinion

Hegab v Long

Hegab’s security clearance was revoked based on concerns about his wife’s participation in groups which were involved in foreign policy issues. He sought review in the district court which dismissed his case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The panel, in three opinions, affirmed. The majority opinion held that Hegab’s complaint did not in fact allege any constitutional violations but instead only alleged the decision to revoke was incorrect. Citing both United States Supreme Court and 4th Circuit precedent, the majority held the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to review the discretionary executive branch decision about whether to grant or revoke security clearance. One judge concurred only in judgment arguing the governing United States Supreme Court precedent is best read to allow claims for unconstitutional process but not unconstitutional individual decisions. As there was no claim of improper procedures in the complaint, dismissal was appropriate. One member of the majority field a concurrence noting that the complaint probably alleged a colorable constitutional claim, but, security clearance decisions are political questions left to the executive branch and thus not judiciable. Thus, dismissal was appropriate.

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