PORTLAND, Ore. — A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that a lawsuit over the government's no-fly list can go forward in a lower court in Oregon.

In a unanimous ruling, the three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that a lower court improperly threw out the lawsuit. U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown rejected the case last year, saying her court didn't have authority over the policies and procedures of the Transportation Security Administration.

The lawsuit was filed in 2010 by American Civil Liberties Union lawyers on behalf of 15 men who were barred from returning to the United States. It seeks to remove the plaintiffs from the no-fly list or tell them why they're on it.

The no-fly list is maintained by the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center. It includes names and classified evidence against suspected terrorists who are not allowed to fly in U.S. airspace. The names are provided to the TSA, which works with airlines and law enforcement to ensure people on the list don't board domestic or international flights.

The TSA maintains a grievance process for people affected by the list, but decisions about who is on it are made by the Terrorist Screening Center.

The appeals court ruled that only the Terrorist Screening Center, not the TSA, can provide the relief that the plaintiffs are seeking, and the district court has jurisdiction over the center. The appellate judges did not rule on the merits of the lawsuit.

"More than two years ago, our clients were placed on a secret government blacklist that denied their right to travel without an explanation or chance to confront the evidence against them," Nusrat Choudhury, an ACLU lawyer who argued the case, said in a statement. "The Constitution requires the government to provide our clients a fair chance to clear their names and a court will finally hear their claims."

A Department of Justice spokesman said agency officials are reviewing the decision and declined to comment.

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  • An unidentified TSA agent left a note asking a woman to "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/24/woman-finds-sexual-note-in-luggage_n_1029382.html" target="_hplink">Get Your Freak On Girl</a>". The TSA agent was later fired.

  • Isis Brantley, a Dallas-area hair dresser, was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/21/isis-brantley-dallas-woma_n_973787.html" target="_hplink">mad at the TSA in September for checking her afro for weapons</a>.

  • Ashley Yang poses for a photo at Los Angeles International Airport, LAX on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011, in Los Angeles. Yang, a transgender woman, was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/04/tsa-transgender-training-_n_918838.html" target="_hplink">fired from her Transportation Security Administration</a>, TSA passenger screener job at LAX for using the women's room. She recently received a five-figure settlement, back pay and mandatory transgender sensitivity for TSA managers at the LAX airport. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

  • After a woman was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/02/tsa-molested-me-woman-scr_n_870583.html" target="_hplink">allegedly sexually harassed </a>by TSA agents at Sky Harbor International in Phoenix, AZ, her son documented the aftermath as the TSA, Southwest Airlines and Phoenix Police threaten him with arrest for filming the ordeal. Officials seem more concerned with the video than with the woman brought to tears at the security checkpoint. Video courtesy of YouTube.com/rynomaz111

  • Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/14/donald-rumsfeld-patted-do_n_899348.html" target="_hplink">received a patdown</a> while traveling through Chicago's O'Hare airport in July. (AP Photo/Dennis Cook, File)

  • In July 2011, a 61-year-old Denver woman named <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/17/yukari-mihamae-61yearold-_n_900969.html?ref=tsa" target="_hplink">Yukari Mihamae</a> was accused of groping a TSA agent. People rallied around her, even creating a <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Acquit-Yukari-Mihamae/193771357344518" target="_hplink">Facebook page</a> in support of her acquittal. Associated Press

  • Also in July 2011, a <a href="http://news.travel.aol.com/2011/07/15/marian-paterson-94-year-old-women-gets-tsa-patdown/" target="_hplink">94-year-old woman named Marian Paterson</a> was patted down while standing. At the time, Paterson told ABC News she didn't understand why "of all people in America, why they'd pick out some little old lady." ABC News

  • In July 2011,<a href="http://news.travel.aol.com/2011/07/25/thomas-sawyer-cancer-survivor-gets-soaked-by-his-own-urine-aga/" target="_hplink"> former cancer patient Thomas Sawyer</a> was soaked by his own urine when his urostomy bag was burst by a TSA inspector during a patdown. Sadly, this was the <a href="http://www.gadling.com/2010/11/20/tsa-pees-on-tom-sawyer/" target="_hplink">second time this had happened to him</a>. NBC

  • Ron Paul has come out firmly against the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/05/ron-paul-tsa-_n_890511.html" target="_hplink">TSA saying it should be abolished</a>.

  • This undated photo provided by Jean Weber shows her mother, Lena Reppert. The gravely ill 95-year-old woman had to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/26/tsa-pats-down-elderly-wom_n_884902.html" target="_hplink">remove her wet diaper at an airport</a> so that she could be patted down by security screeners and nearly missed her flight, her daughter said. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Jean Weber)

  • Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee member Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. shows a picture he says is of a young girl being searched by the TSA, during the committee's hearing to examine ongoing transportation security threats, Wednesday, June 22, 2011, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

  • In this Saturday, May 7, 2011 handout photo, a baby boy, held by his mother, is <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/11/baby-receives-pat-down-at_n_860436.html" target="_hplink">frisked by TSA agents</a> at Kansas City International Airport in Kansas City, Mo. Federal officials insisted Wednesday that screeners at Kansas City International Airport were just doing their jobs when they frisked the baby, an incident that gained worldwide attention after a pastor posted a cellphone picture of the pat-down on Twitter. (AP Photo)

  • Former <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/28/susie-castillos-tsa-rant-_n_855038.html" target="_hplink">Ms USA Susie Castillo filmed her breakdown</a> at the Dallas airport after she felt she was inappropriately touched by a TSA agent.

  • Selena Drexel, of Bowling Green, Ky., sits in front of her home computer Wednesday, April 13, 2011, with a video showing her <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/13/tsa-pats-down-6year-old-g_n_848626.html" target="_hplink">6-year-old daughter Anna getting frisked</a> at the New Orleans airport earlier this month by the TSA officials. (AP Photo/Joe Imel)

  • Rep. Sharon Cissna, D-Anchorage, center, answers questions from members of the press after <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/24/rep-sharon-cissna-tsa_n_827934.html" target="_hplink">disembarking the Alaska Ferry Matanuska</a>, in Juneau, Alaska Thursday, February 24th, 2011. Cissna's four-day ordeal began when she <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/21/rep-sharon-cissna-tsa-patdown_n_825851.html" target="_hplink">refused to be patted down</a> by TSA agents in the Seattle-Tacoma airport following a full body scan that detected her mastectomy, which the TSA agent felt necessitated the extra security precaution of a full body pat down, Cissna's second in three months. She refused, and took a ferry from Prince Rupert, British Columbia to Juneau to return to her legislative duties. Cisna vowed Thursday to fight for the rights of travelers who have been subjected to what she considers intrusive airport searches by federal airport screeners. (AP Photo/Chris Miller)

  • In January, a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/20/edward-hall-iii-forgets-i_n_811585.html?ref=tsa" target="_hplink">24-year-old Columbia University student jumped on a baggage carousel</a> at JFK airport in an attempt to make his flight after a TSA agent wouldn't let him through security without a valid ID. The TSA wins this one, but it's still pretty funny.

  • Former Minnesota governor <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/24/jesse-ventura-sues-tsa-ov_n_813460.html" target="_hplink">Jesse Ventura sued the TSA</a> over their techniques last winter. Earlier this month, the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/04/jesse-venturas-tsa-lawsui_n_1075676.html" target="_hplink">lawsuit was thrown out </a>; Ventura has since <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/04/jesse-ventura-lawsuit_n_1076670.html" target="_hplink">vowed to move to Mexico</a>. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

  • Surveillance video of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/31/aaron-b-tobey-airport-pas_n_802995.html" target="_hplink">Aaron Tobey</a> going through airport security at Richmond International Airport Dec. 29, 2010 after stripping to his undershorts in protest of the TSA surveillance methods. Related story: bit.ly

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  • In December 2010, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/07/khloe-kardashian-tsa-rape_n_793059.html" target="_hplink">Khloe Kardashian compared the TSA's patdown techniques to rape</a>. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

  • An illustration shows lobbying material protesting against full body scans outside of a conference on Transportation Security Administration procedures at the Carnegie Institute for Science in Washington, DC. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/15/john-tyner-videos_n_783678.html" target="_hplink">John Tyner (aka "Don't Touch My Junk"</a>) posted a blog saying he had been ejected after being threatened with a fine and lawsuit for refusing a groin check after turning down a full-body scan at San Diego International Airport in November 2010. (AP Photo/Rebekah Butler) NO SALES

  • Former "Baywatch" actress<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/08/donna-derrico-baywatch-st_n_793909.html" target="_hplink"> Donna D'Errico said that a TSA agent "singled her out"</a> for a full-body scan at LAX. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

  • An enterprising traveler--in an attempt to avoid a full body scan--<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/24/traveller-wears-bikini-th_n_788127.html?ref=tsa" target="_hplink">showed up to the airport in a bikini</a>.

  • Paul Gambill, of Tempe, protests curbside at Sky Harbor International Airport Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010 in Phoenix. Gambill was participating in the National Opt Out Day protest against the use of body-scanning technology by the TSA.(AP Photo/Matt York)

  • My friend Jimmy successfully navigated a TSA security checkpoint in a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/24/speedo-tsa-_n_788137.html" target="_hplink">speedo swimsuit</a> at the Salt Lake City International Airport on Tuesday, November 23, 2010 with the words, 'SCREW BIG SIS' written on his back. Why the speedo?

  • Activist Lori Lamb distributes stickers to travelers to protest against TSA's new security procedures at Los Angeles International Airport, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010. Holiday travelers dismayed by airport body scans <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/24/opt-out-day-how-_n_788002.html" target="_hplink">planned protests</a> at bustling airports, while the head of the nation's transport security agency urged passengers to comply with searches to reduce the possibility of delays on one of the busiest travel days of the year. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • A Taiwanese animation company took on the TSA's practices in a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/17/taiwanese-tsa-cartoon_n_784709.html?ref=tsa" target="_hplink">holiday-themed mocking </a>last year. <em> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBL3ux1o0tM&feature=player_embedded" target="_hplink">NMA World Edition</a></em>

  • Whoopi Goldberg has called<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/22/whoopi-tsa-pat-downs_n_786756.html" target="_hplink"> TSA's patdowns "necessary</a>." (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen)