Faculty Journal Articles and Book Chapters

ORCID (Links to author’s additional scholarship at ORCID.org)



Terrorist watchlists used to restrict travel into and out of the United States owe their conceptual origins to Mrs. Ruth B. Shipley, the Chief of the State Department’s Passport Division from 1928 to 1955. Mrs. Shipley was one of the most powerful people in the federal government for almost thirty years, but she is virtually unknown today. She had the unreviewable discretion to determine who could leave the United States, for how long, and under what conditions.

This article examines how Mrs. Shipley exercised her power through a detailed study of original documents obtained from the National Archives. It then compares her work to the current watchlisting procedures employed by the Terrorist Screening Center and Department of Homeland Security. The article concludes that today’s so-called “No Fly List” used to deny boarding passes to suspect travelers resonates with Mrs. Shipley’s passport power, which was rightly scaled back by the courts and Congress as incompatible with our constitutional values.

Publication Title

Connecticut Law Review

Document Type



National Security, Constitutional Law, Legal History



Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.