First Amendment topicsAbout the First Amendment
News Story
print this   Print

High court to examine anti-terrorism law

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court will consider whether portions of a law that makes it a crime to provide “material support or resources” to designated terrorist groups are unconstitutional.

The justices said today they would hear the Obama administration’s appeal of an appeals court ruling that declared parts of the law unconstitutionally vague. The case is Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project.

The 1996 law, which was amended in 2001 by the USA Patriot Act and in 2004 by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, bars financial and other aid to any group designated a terrorist organization. The individuals and groups that challenged the law argued that it prohibits aid to lawful, nonviolent activities of designated organizations. In this case, the groups work with the Kurdish Workers Party in Turkey and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka.

A three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in 2007 that the ban on “material support or resources” to designated terrorists could be used to prosecute those who train members of such groups about peaceful resolution of ongoing disputes or lobbying the United Nations for disaster relief.

The administration, in calling for high court review, said the law was “a vital part of the nation’s effort to fight international terrorism.”

About 120 defendants have been charged with providing “material support,” a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, and 60 have been convicted, Solicitor General Elena Kagan told the court.

High court weighs conflicting values of speech, safety
Justice Kennedy acknowledges difficulty of case brought by humanitarian groups who claim anti-terror law violates their rights. 02.23.10

9th Circuit finds parts of Patriot Act unconstitutional
Three-judge panel upholds judge's ruling that language dealing with foreign terrorist groups is too vague. 12.11.07


9th Circuit lifts injunction protecting donors

Citing new legislation, judges send back to lower courts case involving group that seeks to aid organizations labeled as supporting terrorism. 12.22.04

Federal court nixes president's authority to label groups as terrorists

Judge rules parts of post-Sept. 11 executive order, which allowed President Bush to create list of terrorist organizations, were too vague and could impinge on free association. 11.29.06

Court to hear case on material support for terrorists
By Tony Mauro Humanitarian groups argue law preventing them from providing lawful, nonviolent training is too vague. 10.01.09

2009-10 Supreme Court case tracker

Patriot Act

News summary page
View the latest news stories throughout the First Amendment Center Online.

Last system update: Friday, April 23, 2010 | 12:13:23
About this site
About the First Amendment
About the First Amendment Center
How to contribute
First Amendment programs
State of the First Amendment

Religious liberty in public schools
First Reports
Supreme Court
First Amendment publications
First Amendment Center history
Freedom Sings™
First Amendment

Congressional Research Service reports
Guest editorials
FOI material
The First Amendment

Lesson plans
Contact us
Privacy statement
Related links