Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Supreme Court Upholds Application of "Material Support" of Terrorist Organizations to Humanitarian and Political Support
The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project that the law prohibiting providing material support or resources to designated "foreign terrorist organizations" was constitutional as applied to the provision of support for lawful, nonviolent purposes such as humanitarian and political activities in that the statute neither was unconstitutional vague (under the Fifth Amendment) nor infringed on freedom of speech and association (under the First Amendment). The Court reasoned both that statutory terms such as "training," "expert advice or assistance, "service, and "personnel" were sufficiently clear to provide fair notice of what is prohibited and that even innocuous and legal support raised legitimate risks of both diversion of that support to terrorist activity and the freeing up of other resources for such activity. The plaintiffs included six nonprofit organizations, including the Humanitarian Law Project.