US Center for Constitutional Rights to Challenge Parts of the Patriot Act : US Supreme Court
This will be the first time the high court will rule on a provision of the Patriot Act.
"Criminalizing those who provide relief and advocate for nonviolent resolutions to conflict does not make the country safer. We hope the Supreme Court will make it clear once and for all that humanitarian aid is not a crime" Excerpt from release below. Note that this is a breakthrough event which may help to prevent arrest of professional humanitarian staff and volunteers who are not terrorists by a long-shot. The potential rulings may also help prevent the hassle many foreigners visiting family, friends and colleagues in the US experience at airports and many other places. Changes prepared with careful research by the CCR might also mean fewer people detained without a charge - people too often imprisoned for years without a trial.
PRESS RELEASE from Center for Constitutional Rights:
We just learned that CCR will be going to the Supreme Court this session to challenge guilt-by-association provisions of the Patriot Act and other statutes . The provisions make it a crime to provide humanitarian assistance to groups the State Department has decided to designate "foreign terrorist organizations" and carry maximum sentences ranging from 15 years to life. The statute has existed since 1994 and CCR has been fighting it for 11 long years. This will be the first time the high court will rule on a provision of the Patriot Act.
CCR originally filed a series of cases on behalf of the Humanitarian Law Project, a human rights organization that seeks to provide nonviolent dispute resolution and human rights advocacy training to a Kurdish political party in Turkey, and several groups of physicians seeking to provide humanitarian relief in war-torn areas of Sri Lanka controlled by a the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, especially after the 2004 tsunami. Some of the statutes the cases challenge pre-date the Patriot Act and go back to the Clinton administration.
In its most recent ruling, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the several of the provisions of the statute were unconstitutionally vague. And, in six separate decisions, every court that has considered this case over the last 11 years has found that significant parts of the statute were unconstitutional.
Criminalizing those who provide relief and advocate for nonviolent resolutions to conflict does not make the country safer. We hope the Supreme Court will make it clear once and for all that humanitarian aid is not a crime, and we will keep you posted .
Interview at Democracy Now: here Audio, Rush Transcript and more: (David Cole, Georgetown U. Law Professor & Attorney)
Follow reports also at Bill of Rights Defense Committee here and daily news bordc dot org/news