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Supremes Uphold Broad Definition of "Material Support" of Terrorism

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  • A Beltran
    ... Subject: Supremes Uphold Broad Definition of Material Support of Terrorism The definition of terrorist activity has important ramifications for the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 21, 2010
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      Subject: Supremes Uphold Broad Definition of "Material Support" of Terrorism


      The definition of "terrorist activity" has important ramifications for the definition of such activity in the exclusion and removal provisions of the immigration laws.

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      Supremes Uphold Broad Definition of "Material Support" of Terrorism

      Today, the Supreme Court, in Holder. v. Humanitarian Law Project (Download 08-1498[1]), upheld the broad application of federal laws that prohibit material support for designated terrorist groups. The lawsuit challenged the application of the "material support" laws to organizations and individuals who seek to provide peacebuilding and human rights training to groups designated as terrorist organizations. Writing for a total of six justices, Chief Justice Roberts today rejected this challenge, finding that the application of the material support statutes to punish these groups' pure speech that seeks to further lawful, non-violent ends does not run afoul of the Constitution. Although the Court agreed that the statute's regulation of speech must be subject to a demanding level of scrutiny, the Court found that these sweeping restrictions were justified by the Government's interests in combating terrorism.


      See SCOTUSblog for more on the case.  The definition of "terrorist activity" has important ramifications for the definition of such activity in the exclusion and removal provisions of the immigration laws.


      KJ


      June 21, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink| TrackBack (0)




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      Subject: Supreme Court Permits Criminalization of Political Speech and Humanitarian Aid

      ...The decision marks the first time that the Supreme Court has held that the First Amendment permits Congress to make pure speech advocating lawful, nonviolent activity-human rights advocacy and peacemaking-a crime....

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      From: Annette Dickerson, CCR <alerts@...>
      To:
      Sent: Mon, Jun 21, 2010 4:09 pm
      Subject: TEST Supreme Court Permits Criminalization of Political Speech and Humanitarian Aid


      Supreme Court Permits Criminalization of Political Speech and Humanitarian Aid




      Dear Supporter:

      Today, the United States Supreme Court rejected the Center for Constitutional Rights' (CCR) challenge against the criminalization of political speech and humanitarian aid. In Holderv. Humanitarian Law Project, CCR challenged the constitutionality of a law that makes it a crime to provide "material support" to groups designated by the U.S. government as "foreign terrorist organizations."

      The decision marks the first time that the Supreme Court has held that the First Amendment permits Congress to make pure speech advocating lawful, nonviolent activity-human rights advocacy and peacemaking-a crime. Doing so can land a citizen in prison for 15 years, all in the name of "fighting terrorism."

      Our clients are humanitarian organizations that sought to provide training in human rights enforcement and nonviolent conflict resolution to groups blacklisted by the government.

      The Court's ruling leaves it unclear whether publishing an op-ed or submitting an amicus brief in court arguing that a group does not belong on the list is a criminal act is prohibited. What is clear is that the Court's decision is likely to cast a broad chill over political speech and the activities of humanitarian groups and journalists.

      This was the first case to challenge a portion of the Patriot Act before the Supreme Court. Though we expect that our fight will shift from the courts to Congress, CCR intends to continue our struggle against the criminalization of humanitarian aid and political speech.

      We'll keep you informed at the next opportunity to pressure your representatives to take action where the Supreme Court failed to do so.  We thank you for your continued support.

      Sincerely,
      Annette Dickerson
      Director of Education and Outreach




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      http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/22/us/politics/22scotus.html

      June 21, 2010

      Supreme Court Affirms Ban on Aiding Groups Tied to Terror

      By ADAM LIPTAK

      WASHINGTON — Rejecting a First Amendment challenge, the SupremeCourt on Monday upheld a federal law that bans providing “material support” to terrorist organizations.


      The decision was the court’s first ruling on the free speech and association rights of American citizens in the context of terrorism since the Sept. 11 attacks.


      Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority in the 6-to-3 decision, said the law’s prohibition on providing some forms of intangible assistance to groups said by the State Department to engage in terrorism did not violate the First Amendment.


      “At bottom, plaintiffs simply disagree with the considered judgment of Congress and the executive that providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization — even seemingly benign support — bolsters the terrorist activities of that organization,” the chief justice wrote. He was joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, AnthonyM. Kennedy and Samuel A. Alito Jr.


      “Given the sensitive interests in national security and foreign affairs at stake,” Chief Justice Roberts continued, “the political branches have adequately substantiated their determination that, to serve the government’s interest in preventing terrorism, it was necessary to prohibit providing material support in the form of training, expert advice, personnel, and services to foreign terrorist groups, even if the supporters meant to promote only the groups’ nonviolent ends.”


      Justice Stephen G. Breyer took the unusual step of summarizing his dissent from the bench. He wrote that the majority had been too credulous in accepting the government’s argument that national security concerns required restrictions on the challengers’ speech, and “failed to insist upon specific evidence, rather than general assertion.”


      In his dissent, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, Justice Breyer concluded that the majority “deprives the individuals before us of the protection the First Amendment demands.”


      The law was challenged by Ralph D. Fertig, a civil rights activist who said he wanted to help a militant Kurdish group in Turkey find peaceful ways to achieve its goals.


      In 1997, Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright designated some 30 groups under the law, including Hamas, Hezbollah, the Khmer Rouge and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. The United States says the Kurdish group, sometimes called the P.K.K., has engaged in widespread terrorist activities, including bombings and kidnappings, and “has waged a violent insurgency that has claimed over 22,000 lives.”


      Since 2001, the government says, it has prosecuted about 150 defendants for violating the material-support law, obtaining roughly 75 convictions.


      The federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled in 2007 that bans on training, service and some kinds of expert advice were unconstitutionally vague. But it upheld the bans on personnel and expert advice derived from scientific or technical knowledge.


      The cases are Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, No. 08-1498, and Humanitarian Law Project v. Holder, No. 09-89.



      ----- Forwarded Message ----

      Subject: NYTimes.com: Supreme Court Affirms Ban on Aiding Groups Tied to Terror

      The New York Times E-mail This 


      U.S.   | June 22, 2010

      Supreme Court Affirms Ban on Aiding Groups Tied to Terror

      By ADAM LIPTAK

      The Supreme Court rejected a First Amendment challenge to a federal law that bars giving "material support" to terrorist organizations.


      Copyright 2010  The New York Times Company |


      http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/22/us/politics/22scotus.html










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