Posted by | June 21, 2010 17:51 | Filed under: Top Stories

The Supreme Court upheld the most controversial part of the Patriot Act, the material support law, that says it is illegal to teach peaceful means to members of terrorist groups.

The majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, says that Congress intentionally wrote the statute with a broad sweep to outlaw material support to terror groups in any form, including assistance or expertise that might help nudge the group toward nonviolence.

Chief Justice Roberts quoted a congressional finding in support of his broad reading of the statute: “[F]oreign organizations that engage in terrorist activity are so tainted by their criminal conduct that any contribution to such an organization facilitates that conduct.”

Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the dissent.

“… I would read the statute as criminalizing First-Amendment-protected pure speech and association only when the defendant knows or intends that those activities will assist the organization’s unlawful terrorist actions,” Justice Breyer wrote.

For example, if an aviation expert gave advice that facilitated a hijacking, the expert could be prosecuted for his role in facilitating the hijacking, he said. But teaching leaders of a terror group how to petition the United Nations would not.

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Copyright 2010 Liberaland
By: Alan

Alan Colmes is the publisher of Liberaland.