US Supreme Court hears constitutional challenge to anti-terrorism laws

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 24 February 2010, 02:31 GMT]
Supreme Court of the United States, during Monday morning session, heard arguments on the constitutionality of material support provisions in the anti-terrorism laws which the plaintiffs alleged, and 9th circuit court and later Federal Court of appeals of the 9th circuit, partially agreed, as constitutionally vague in a series of law suits during the 1998-2007 period. Professor David Cole of the Georgetown University argued for the Humanitarian Law Project and several Tamil Organizations, the plaintiffs, and Obama appointee for Solicitor General, and former Harvard Law school dean Elena Kagan, argued on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice.

1998 filing by the New York based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), a non-profit organization, on behalf of the plaintiffs, challenged the constitutionality of the “material support” statute, 18 U.S.C. § 2339B, which makes it a crime (punishable by up to 10 years in prison) to provide “material support” to any foreign organization.

Plaintiffs filed a new complaint in 2003 when the USA PATRIOT Act added a ban on “expert advice or assistance” to the material support statute.

Judge Audrey Collins of the 9th circuit court in Los Angeles, and later the Courts of Appeals in several decisions held that the “training” and “personnel” provisions in the 2339B, and the “expert advice or assistance” provisions added by the PATRIOT ACT were constitutionally vague.

The U.S. Supreme Court, in September 2009, granted certiorari to the petition by the U.S. Government for review of these decisions, and the conditional cross petition by the plaintiffs which asked the Court to rule if the “expert advice or assistance” provisions are unconstitutional with respect to speech that furthers only lawful, nonviolent activities of proscribed organizations.

CCR's website contains a full collection of the court briefs and other filings related to these cases.


Related Articles:
29.11.06   US Judge strikes down provisions of terror act
11.05.05   Civil Group advocates changes to US Terrorism Laws
30.09.04   U.S Court curbs FBI powers granted in Patriot Act
04.03.04   Amended US court ruling protects WTCC, FeTNA
27.01.04   U.S Court declares Patriot Act provision Unconstitutional
05.10.03   Cole, Chang lead US Patriot Act challenge by Tamils
24.12.00   Petition against Antiterrorism Law ruling filed in US Suprem..
09.06.98   US Court rules on First Amendment case
20.03.98   US Antiterrorism Law challenged in courts

External Links:
WP: Oregon judge knocks down part of Patriot Act
CCR: Case docket on CCR's website
CNN:  Federal judge rules 2 Patriot Act provisions unconstitutional
US: IEEPA: International Emergency Economic Powers Act
US: Anti Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
US:  Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004
EPIC: USA Patriot Act
USLaw: Federal Judge Rules Unconstitutional Parts of Patriot Act


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