Former Bushie Townsend Calls Supreme Court Ruling That Could Criminalize Speech 'A Tremendous Win' for U.S.
Surprise, surprise, former Bushie Fran Townsend thinks this ruling by the Supreme Court is just wonderful. Common Dreams issued this press release which countered Townsend's praise of the decision.
NEW YORK and WASHINGTON - June 21 - Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 to criminalize speech in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, the first case to challenge the Patriot Act before the highest court in the land, and the first post-9/11 case to pit free speech guarantees against national security claims. Attorneys say that under the Court’s ruling, many groups and individuals providing peaceful advocacy could be prosecuted, including President Carter for training all parties in fair election practices in Lebanon. President Carter submitted an amicus brief in the case.
Chief Justice Roberts wrote for the majority, affirming in part, reversing in part, and remanding the case back to the lower court for review; Justice Breyer dissented, joined by Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor. The Court held that the statute's prohibitions on "expert advice," "training," "service," and "personnel" were not vague, and did not violate speech or associational rights as applied to plaintiffs' intended activities. Plaintiffs sought to provide assistance and education on human rights advocacy and peacemaking to the Kurdistan Workers' Party in Turkey, a designated terrorist organization. Multiple lower court rulings had found the statute unconstitutionally vague.
...Said CCR Senior Attorney Shayana Kadidal, “The Court’s decision confirms the extraordinary scope of the material support statute’s criminalization of speech. But it also notes that the scope of the prohibitions may not be clear in every application, and that remains the case for the many difficult questions raised at argument but dodged by today’s opinion, including whether publishing an op-ed or submitting an amicus brief in court arguing that a group does not belong on the list is a criminal act. The onus is now on Congress and the Obama administration to ensure that humanitarian groups may engage in human rights advocacy, training in non-violent conflict resolution, and humanitarian assistance in crisis zones without fearing criminal prosecution.”
Contrary to that opinion, former Bushie Fran Townsend thought this was "tremendous win for not only the United States but for the current administration". Never mind those pesky legal implications where those doing humanitarian work could get sucked in by this as well. As the Common Dreams article noted, President Carter could now be prosecuted for monitoring free elections in Lebanon.
BLITZER: There is a related case involved that the Supreme Court came out with today and I want to talk to you about this. The Supreme Court ruling today in the fight against terrorism. This is a case that has a lot of people wondering what exactly it means. The court upheld a key provision of the Patriot Act that makes it a crime to provide material support, what is called material support for a foreign terrorist group.
The 6-3 decision by the Supreme Court, the justices rejecting the arguments that the law threatens the constitutional right of free speech. You read the decision, 6-3, only three of the Democratic appointed justices decided they didn't like this. They were the minority. But the majority was pretty firm in saying that if you go ahead and express what is called material support for a known terrorist group, you could go to jail for that.
TOWNSEND: This is a tremendous win for not only the United States but for the current administration. It's interesting, Wolf, Elena Kagan the current Supreme Court nominee argued in favor of upholding this law. This is an important tool the government uses to convict those, to charge and convict, potentially convict those who provide money, recruits, propaganda, to terrorist organizations, but are not what we call people who actually blow things up or pull the trigger.
BLITZER: So it's a major decision, a 6-3 decision by the Supreme Court. If you're thinking about even voicing support for a terrorist group, don't do it because the government can come down hard on you and the Supreme Court said the government has every right to do so.
TOWNSEND: It is more than just voicing support, Wolf. It is actually the notion of providing material support, significant material support.
BLITZER: But they're saying that if material support, they're defining as expressing support or giving advice or whatever to that organization.
TOWNSEND: That's right. But it could be technical advice, bomb- building advice, fundraising.
BLITZER: Obviously, but if you're just talking, it's one thing but if you're doing something in terms of providing money or technical advice, that's obviously a lot more serious.
TOWNSEND: That's right, exactly.
BLITZER: Thanks very much. Let's get to the Gulf oil disaster right now.