Constitution Project Files Amicus Brief on First Amendment in U.S. Supreme Court

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Matthew Allee, (202) 580-6922 or mallee@constitutionproject.org

Constitution Project Files Amicus Brief on First Amendment in U.S. Supreme Court

Brief follows the Project's recently released report Reforming the Material Support Laws: Constitutional Concerns Presented by Prohibitions on Material Support to "Terrorist Organizations"

WASHINGTON - Today, the Constitution Project and The Rutherford Institute filed a friend of the court brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project.
The case involves federal laws prohibiting "material support" of
terrorist groups and challenges the application of these laws to
organizations and individuals who seek to provide human rights training
to a designated group. The amicus brief argues that applying
the material support statutes to punish pure speech that seeks to
further lawful, non-violent ends is unconstitutionally overbroad. The
brief explains that the challenged provisions of the material support
laws conflict with First Amendment protections for free speech and
freedom of association, and should therefore be struck down by the
Court.
 
Earlier this month, the Constitution Project's Liberty and Security Committee released a
report, Reforming
the Material Support Laws: Constitutional Concerns Presented by
Prohibitions on Material Support to "Terrorist Organizations,"
that proposes eight reforms to remedy serious First, Fourth and Fifth
Amendment concerns created by existing material support laws.
 
"The
federal laws prohibiting assistance to terrorist organizations play an
important role in our nation's efforts to combat terrorism, but we must
also ensure that these laws are not applied in a way that infringes
upon Americans' First Amendment rights of free speech and freedom of
association," said Sharon Bradford Franklin, senior counsel for the
Constitution Project. "This case provides an opportunity for the
Supreme Court to rein in the unconstitutional use of the material
support statutes to prohibit protected First Amendment activities. Our
brief urges the Court to strike down the challenged provisions of the
law, to ensure that terrorist activities are prohibited, but free
speech and association are still safeguarded by the First Amendment."
 
To view a copy of the amicus brief filed in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, go to:
http://www.constitutionproject.org/manage/file/357.pdf
 
To view the Constitution Project's report, Reforming the Material Support Laws, go to:
http://www.constitutionproject.org/manage/file/355.pdf

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The Constitution Project is a politically independent think tank established in 1997 to promote and defend constitutional safeguards. More information about the Constitution Project is available at http://constitutionproject.org/.

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