Monday, June 21, 2010

Supreme Court upholds limits on advocacy for certain groups

The US Supreme Court has announced today its decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, upholding the federal law that bars "material support" to groups designated as "foreign terrorist organizations," including advice or advocacy for nonviolent, peaceful, lawful ends.

I a very long opinion that I have not had a chance to read yet, the Court ruled 6-3 that the government may prohibit all forms of aid to designated terrorist groups, even if the support consists of training and advice about entirely peaceful and legal activities. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote a dissenting opinion (joined by Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor) in which he rejects the majority's conclusion "that the (U.S.) Constitution permits the government to prosecute the plaintiffs criminally" for providing instruction and advice about the terror groups' lawful political objectives. The full text of the opinion is available here.

Thanks to Renee Newman Knake of the Legal Ethics Forum and to for the news and links. For more on the opinion check out this article in the Wall Street Journal. See also the Blog of the Legal Times and the Wall Street Journal law blog.

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