Monday, June 21, 2010

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.  for commentary from law professors, including Richard Epstein, David Cole, and Diane Marie Amann, click here

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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