Material Support and the First Amendment: Eliminating Terrorist Support by Punishing Those with No Intention to Support Terror?
CUNY School of Law
January 1, 2010
New York City Law Review, Vol. 13, p. 201, 2010
In this Note, I argue that the present prohibition on providing material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations in the form of "expert advice and assistance" is misguided in the larger context of the interminable "War on Terror." The prohibition should be viewed as a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution because the terrorism support statutes are not in accord with Scales v. United States and Brandenburg v. Ohio. The broad interpretation of material support prohibitions is a throwback to McCarthyism and essentially criminalizes the provision of advice only when offered to a certain disfavored political organization that has been designated by the Secretary of State as a Foreign Terrorist Organization ("FTO"). Finally, I argue that material support statutes should be narrowly drawn, requiring specific intent to further the illegal aims of an FTO in order to prevent misguided prosecutions against individuals who have no intention to support the illegal aims of a designated FTO. Focusing law enforcement resources on individuals who do not intend to support violent or even illegal acts of an organization ultimately makes us more vulnerable to future attacks.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 22
Keywords: First Amendment, material support, constitution, terror, mccarthy, hezbollah, fto
Date posted: April 24, 2011