What is at stake in the constitutional challenge to "material support to terrorist" laws?
[NYU event - date corrected]
The U.S. Supreme Court today is hearing oral argument in the case of Humanitarian Law Project v. Holder, which has received far less attention than it deserves. The case was brought by numerous human rights workers challenging the constitutionality of the statute which criminalizes the providing of so-called “material support to terrorist organizations.” The law is unbelievably broad, and encompasses a whole slew of activities plainly protected by the First Amendment. What this case underscores most is how easy it is to obtain convictions of virtually anyone in our civilian court system on Terrorism charges — the law is so broad that anyone who sneezes in the direction of a “Terrorist” group is guilty of a serious felony — which in turn gives the lie to the administration’s alleged need to use military commissions and even indefinite detention to keep “dangerous terrorists” locked up. The New York Times has a decent, though not great, Editorial on this case today.
My guest today on Salon Radio to discuss this case and its significance is Shane Kadidal of the Center for Constitutional Rights, counsel to the plaintiffs in this case. The discussion is roughly 15 minutes in length and can be heard by clicking PLAY on the recorder below.
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I’ll be traveling for much of this week and posting may therefore be light or erratic. As a reminder, I am appearing at several open-to-the-public events in New York City this week, including this event at NYU Law School (my alma mater) on
Wednesday Thursday at 6:00 p.m., where I’ll be interviewed about civil liberties and Constitutional matters in the Obama administration, and related issues, by NYU Law Professor Stephen Holmes, followed by a substantial Q-and-A session. I am also participating in the truly excellent conference at the New School’s entitled “Limiting Knowledge in a Democracy,” where I’ll be on two panels — one on Thursday morning and the other on Friday evening — and the panel schedule and ticket information is here. From what I last heard, all tickets to the NYU event may be taken (though you should check if you’re interested), while some tickets for the New School conference remain.
I’ll also be doing several media appearances, and may not have time to post more specific information before I do them: on Wednesday, I’ll be on Dylan Ratigan’s show (4:00 pm EST) and Rachel Maddow’s show (9:00 pm EST), along with a GritTV panel with Daniel Ellsberg at noon (which can be viewed here); on Thursday morning, I’ll be on Democracy Now sometime between 7-8:00 a.m. (live audio and video stream here); and on Friday morning, I’ll be on Morning Joe, though I don’t yet know the exact time. I’ll likely use my Twitter feed to post updates throughout the week.