Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project

https://ccrjustice.org/holder-v-humanitarian-law-project

In this series of related cases, CCR has tackled two sets of legal prohibitions that make it a crime to provide support, including humanitarian aid, literature distribution and political advocacy, to any foreign entity that the government has designated as a “terrorist” group.

The Supreme Court heard arguments in the case on February 23, 2010. A transcript of the argument is available for download. On June 21, 2010, the Supreme Court held, by a 6-to-3 vote, that the statute’s prohibitions on “expert advice,” “training,” “service,” and “personnel” were not vague, and did not violate speech or associational rights as applied to plaintiffs’ intended activities. Chief Justice Roberts wrote for the majority, reversing the Court of Appeals (which had ruled for plaintiffs) on the vagueness claims, and holding that while strict scrutiny apparently applied, even support in the form of intangibles like human rights training freed up resources for other illegal uses, and that combined with the government’s interest in denying blacklisted groups legitimacy was sufficient to trump the First Amendment interests of the plaintiffs. Justice Breyer dissented, joined by Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor. Plaintiffs sought to provide training in human rights advocacy and peacemaking to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in Turkey, a designated terrorist organization. Multiple lower court rulings had found the statute unconstitutionally vague.

In this series of related cases, CCR has tackled two sets of legal prohibitions that make it a crime to provide support, including humanitarian aid, literature distribution and political advocacy, to any foreign entity that the government has designated as a “terrorist” group.

CCR Attorney Shayana Kadidal speaks about the landmark case, Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project (HLP). This case, currently before the Supreme Court, challenges the use of the material support statute to criminalize educational consultations and humanitarian aid to organizations which the U.S. government has designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs).