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mlyonsd
06-21-2010, 11:59 AM
High Court: Americans Can’t Help Terrorists

Posted By Lee Ross On June 21, 2010 @ 10:51 AM In Terrorism |

Over the objections of three justices, the Supreme Court has upheld a federal law prohibiting American citizens from providing "material support or resources" to foreign terror groups. The 6-3 maority opinion from Chief Justice John Roberts is a victory for the government’s efforts to fight terrorist organizations.

"It is not difficult to conclude, as Congress did, that the taint of [terrorist's] violent activities is so great that working in coordination with them or at their command legitimizes and furthers their terrorist means,” Roberts wrote. “Moreover, material support meant to promote peaceable, lawful conduct can be diverted to advance terrorism in multiple ways."

A group called the Humanitarian Law Project sought to provide legal training and political advocacy for a pair of groups designated by the State Department as foreign terrorist organizations. Monday’s ruling says that support is illegal because "...all contributions to foreign terrorist organizations--even those for seemingly benign purposes--further those groups' terrorist activities."

The Humanitarian Law Project claimed the law violated its First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly. The Court’s ruling said that was not the case.

Justice Stephen Breyer took the unusual step of reading his dissent from the bench, something that is rarely done and often only when a justice feels particularly strong about the outcome of the decision. Breyer said he could not agree with the Court’s conclusion that “the Constitution permits the Government to prosecute the plaintiffs criminally for engaging in coordinated teaching and advocacy furthering the designated organizations' lawful political objectives." Breyer was joined in dissent by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor.

The case ends 12 years of litigation in which the Humanitarian Law Project had sought to assist the lawful and nonviolent activities of two separatist groups in Turkey and Sri Lanka. Notwithstanding any benevolent activities, the United States government says the groups PKK and LTTE are terrorists groups. The Project claimed the “material support” law infringed on their First Amendment rights to advocate and speak on behalf of the separatist groups. But the Court concluded that it is “wholly foreseeable” any support for these groups would provide them with “information and techniques that it could use as part of a broader strategy to promote terrorism, and to threaten, manipulate, and disrupt.” It set aside the Project’s claims saying its proposals of political advocacy were so broad in scope that they could not prevail on their constitutional claims.

Breyer said he does not dispute the Court’s concerns about protecting the country from the threat of foreign terrorist groups. But he said he was unable to determine how applying the law actually achieves that purpose.
"I believe the Court has failed to examine the Government’s justifications with sufficient care. It has failed to insist upon specific evidence, rather than general assertion. It has failed to require tailoring of means to fit compelling ends. And ultimately it deprives the individuals before us of the protection that the First Amendment demands."

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan argued and won the case for the government.

http://liveshots.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/06/21/high-court-americans-cant-help-terrorists/

mlyonsd
06-21-2010, 12:11 PM
Ok, I'm officially worried about Sotomayor.

HonestChieffan
06-21-2010, 12:20 PM
Ok, I'm officially worried about Sotomayor.

Among a host of other issues we should all be very concerned about.

patteeu
06-21-2010, 12:25 PM
Ok, I'm officially worried about Sotomayor.

I won't be surprised to see Kagan on the other side of issues like this one, once she's seated on the court. Right now she's being a good advocate for her client's position (the US government), as opposed to arguing her own.

go bowe
06-21-2010, 12:45 PM
Ok, I'm officially worried about Sotomayor.what, you didn't know she was a liberal?

blaise
06-21-2010, 12:46 PM
Ok, I'm officially worried about Sotomayor.

But her life story is so great!

mlyonsd
06-21-2010, 01:18 PM
I won't be surprised to see Kagan on the other side of issues like this one, once she's seated on the court. Right now she's being a good advocate for her client's position (the US government), as opposed to arguing her own.

Right, I didn't highlight the Kagan sentence because I thought it was necessarily relevant, just interesting.

mlyonsd
06-21-2010, 01:18 PM
what, you didn't know she was a liberal?

Yeah but this is crazy.

go bowe
06-21-2010, 01:20 PM
Yeah but this is crazy.i can't say i disagree with the court's decision, but there is a point to encouraging participation in the politcal process through advocacy rather than bombs...

mlyonsd
06-21-2010, 01:26 PM
i can't say i disagree with the court's decision, but there is a point to encouraging participation in the politcal process through advocacy rather than bombs...

If they didn't use bombs it wouldn't be a problem because they probably wouldn't be a terrorist organization.

go bowe
06-21-2010, 01:41 PM
If they didn't use bombs it wouldn't be a problem because they probably wouldn't be a terrorist organization.this is true...

the point i was making is that by getting them engaged in the political process they might begin to move away from terror tactics...

which would be a good thing...

blaise
06-21-2010, 01:47 PM
this is true...

the point i was making is that by getting them engaged in the political process they might begin to move away from terror tactics...

which would be a good thing...

I don't think you can separate a piece from the total though. If an organization has a goal that involves terrorism any assistance you provide them is helping them achieve that goal.

go bowe
06-21-2010, 02:09 PM
I don't think you can separate a piece from the total though. If an organization has a goal that involves terrorism any assistance you provide them is helping them achieve that goal.sure...

but as is usual in such things, there are conflicting goals that are each legitimate and desirable...

in this case, not helping terrorists, but also encouraging even an incremental movement away from terrorism as political expression...

they may be irreconcilable but they are both valid goals...

FD
06-21-2010, 03:12 PM
I don't think you can separate a piece from the total though. If an organization has a goal that involves terrorism any assistance you provide them is helping them achieve that goal.

But keep in mind these are organizations declared as terrorist organizations by our government, which can be a tricky thing to do and it does raise complex first amendment issues.

Hydrae
06-21-2010, 07:15 PM
But keep in mind these are organizations declared as terrorist organizations by our government, which can be a tricky thing to do and it does raise complex first amendment issues.

I would assume that would include homegrown groups. Actually, do we have any homegrown groups that would be listed as terrorist organizations (KKK, Aryan Nation, Hell's Angels)? If we do, how does that work? If I hire someone in one of these groups, is this supporting their agenda? I am supplying money. Or will I have to prove they actually worked for the money I gave to them?

Interesting slope possibilities here.

Garcia Bronco
06-21-2010, 08:29 PM
I agree with the minority if it's "lawful political objectives". It's a slippery slope when "terrorism" is subjective.

BucEyedPea
06-21-2010, 08:37 PM
I would assume that would include homegrown groups. Actually, do we have any homegrown groups that would be listed as terrorist organizations (KKK, Aryan Nation, Hell's Angels)? If we do, how does that work? If I hire someone in one of these groups, is this supporting their agenda? I am supplying money. Or will I have to prove they actually worked for the money I gave to them?

Interesting slope possibilities here.

Yeah, remember Napolitano wanted to include folks with pro-Constitution signs, had Ron Paul bumper stickers and attend Tea Party rallies. So how terrorism is defined is crucial here. Some of these politicians just want no opposition. Meanwhile, totalitarian Lieberman, endorser of John McCain, want the Feds to be able to shut the net down. We are really moving more toward a police for a war that's been dubbed a war that "may never end."

FD
06-21-2010, 08:49 PM
The ruling only applies to FOREIGN terrorist organizations, I'm pretty sure there is no such designation (that carries weight under law, at least) for domestic organizations.

BucEyedPea
06-21-2010, 08:52 PM
That's a relief.

But then....

First they came for the foreign terrorists....
Then they came for the domestic terrorists....



Hah! Ha! JK