Supreme Court May Strike Down Terrorist-Aid Law As Too Broad


The U.S. Supreme Court appears by the broad sweep of a federal law that makes it a crime to give “material support” and “expert advice” to designated terrorist groups, reports the National Law Journal. The law was challenged as a vague or overbroad violation of First Amendment rights, but what seemed to bother the justices most in arguments yesterday the assertion by U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan that the law would bar a lawyer from writing an amicus curiae brief on behalf of such a group in U.S. courts.

Kagan defended the law as a “vital weapon in this nation’s continuing struggle against international terrorism.” Still, “under the definition of the statute” offered by Kagan, said Justice Sonia Sotomayor, “teaching these members to play the harmonica would be unlawful.” That produced laughs, and more laughs followed when Justice Antonin Scalia posited that a terror group’s harmonica quartet “might tour the country and make a lot of money.”

Comments are closed.