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Boyle v. Werner (Challenging to Iraqi sanctions regulation)

This case involves a challenge to the Iraqi Sanctions Regulations on the grounds that the Regulations violate the U.S. Constitution, the Administrative Procedures Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and international law. In June 2003, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) discovered that Reverend Frederick Boyle, an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church, had traveled to Iraq in early 2003 without authorization and was therefore in violation of the Regulations. Boyle was an outspoken opponent of military action in Iraq, and his trip had a religious purpose. OFAC demanded all information about the trip, and Boyle refused to respond. After Boyle refused, he received a notice that a failure to respond would be punishable by a monetary fine.

On May 25, 2005, the NYCLU, in conjunction with the New Jersey affiliate of the ACLU and the law firm of Gibbons, Del Deo, Dolan, Griffinger & Vecchione, filed a complaint on behalf of Boyle seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. The plaintiff alleged numerous causes of action. First, the government violated the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment by neglecting to provide a hearing for Boyle before imposing the fine. Second, the regulations violate the Fifth Amendment because they forced Boyle to make a choice between his right against self-incrimination and paying the fine. Third, the regulations violate the Administrative Procedures Act because they constitute a sweeping travel ban and are excessive. Fourth, since the Regulations limit travel to a foreign country based on an individual’s viewpoint, they constitute a violation of the right to travel guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment. Fifth, the Regulations violate the First Amendment by excessively restricting speech. Sixth, the Regulations substantially burden religious practice and violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Seventh, since the Regulations constitute an impermissible interference with religious practice, they violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. Eighth, the Regulations selectively restrict the exercise of constitutional rights, thus violating the Equal Protection Guarantee of the Due Process Clause of the First Amendment. Ninth, the amount of power the Regulations delegate to Congress is impermissibly broad, thus violating the separation of powers. The tenth and final cause of action is that the Regulations violate the right to travel guaranteed by international law.

The complaint, in addition to seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, asked the Court to declare the Iraqi Sanctions Regulations in violation of the U.S. Constitution, the Administrative Procedures Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and international law, and to prohibit the government from imposing a penalty on Boyle. On Aug. 25, 2005, the government moved to dismiss the case. On Oct. 11, 2005, the plaintiffs responded with a cross motion for partial summary judgment. 

S.D.N.Y, Index No. 05-cv-04995 (direct) 

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