Yesterday, the case of John D. Cerqueira, Petitioner v. American Airlines, Inc. was on the docket of the U.S. Supreme Court -- which ultimately decided to not to bother. For those unfamiliar with the details of the case -- for which the NAACP offered an amicus brief in support of Cerqueira -- it involves an American citizen of Portuguese descent who was booted off a Boston to Fort Lauderdale flight in December 2003 when, he insisted in court documents, employees of the Fort Worth-based carrier decided he looked like a Middle Easterner -- which meant, like, he musta been a terrorist! Cops questioned him for two hours, then decided, um, not so much. But American wouldn't give him a ticket. So he sued -- and won $400,000, only to have an appeals court overturn the victory.
The case has been pending before the Supreme Court for the better part of this year, but American's attorney -- Dallas-based Michael Powell, a partner at Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell -- argued that, look, American's crew was just doing its job: "If the pilot-in-command of an airliner concludes, based on information that comes to him, that there is or might be a safety hazard aboard his aircraft, [federal aviation law] authorizes him to act to protect the safety of the entire aircraft by removing a passenger from the aircraft before flight." Guess it could have been worse. --Robert Wilonsky
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Update: Further details of the case are provided in the comments. And I've amended the first paragraph to include the phrase "he insisted in court documents," because I do aim to be fair and accurate.