|A caller to the morning show to ask how the new Military Commissions Act would define "material support" given to terrorists. Here's a clip from testimony by constitutional expert David Cole back in 2004 on the subject:
Welcome to the new world order. Think at your own risk.
In this testimony, I will briefly set forth the three federal legal regimes that penalize “material support” to “terrorist organizations,” and then discuss the principal constitutional objections that they raise. In summary, the constitutional problems raised by these schemes are threefold.
First, all of these statutes impose guilt by association, in violation of both the First and Fifth Amendments, because they hold individuals responsible not for their own terrorist conduct, not even for support of terrorist conduct, but for support of groups that in turn have engaged in terrorist conduct.
Second, 18 U.S.C. §2339B, as amended by the USA Patriot Act, is unconstitutionally vague and infringes on constitutionally protected speech, because it penalizes pure speech, without requiring any showing that the speech is intended and likely to produce imminent lawless action, as required by the Supreme Court in Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969).
Third, all of these statutes infringe on basic due process protections, because they grant the Executive virtually unfettered discretion to blacklist disfavored organizations and individuals, without affording them any adequate process to challenge their designation.
1. The Legal Regimes that Regulate Support to "Terrorist Organizations"
Three different federal statutes authorize executive officials to designate “terrorist organizations” and punish “material support” provided to them. All three statutes share a common attribute – they penalize support of designated groups without regard to whether the individual who provided support did so to discourage or encourage violence, and without regard to the effect of the support in question. In addition, all three statutes afford the executive branch a virtual blank check in blacklisting disfavored groups.
Tags: Keith Olbermann, CountDown, MSNBC, War On Terror, News, Politics, Bush, habeas corpus, Military Commissions Act