New York, N.Y., March 5, 2001 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the U.S. Supreme Court decision to deny an appeal of a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling upholding the constitutionality of anti-terrorism legislation enacted in 1996. ADL had filed an amicus brief in support of the constitutionality of that legislation before the Ninth Circuit
The case, Humanitarian Law Project v. Ashcroft, was the first challenge to the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), a statute enacted to prohibit State Department-designated foreign terrorist organizations from acquiring funds and other material support in the United States. Both the District Court and the Ninth Circuit rejected the challenge to the law's constitutionality brought by American supporters of two terrorist organizations, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelan and the Kurdistan Workers' Party.
ADL's brief, which was cited by the Ninth Circuit in its March, 2000 decision, argued that the AEDPA is necessary and appropriate legislative action recognizing both the free speech and association rights at stake and the compelling national security interest in combating terrorism. The brief urged the court to uphold the law because "the knowing contribution of material support to foreign terrorist organizations is inextricably intertwined with violence," and does not warrant First Amendment protection. Legislators understood from the evidence presented to them that "in the context of foreign terrorist organizations money is fungible -- even support of a foreign terrorist group's 'lawful' activities ultimately only serves to free up resources that can be used to support illegal activities."
Citing the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas as an example, the ADL brief pointed to "its seamless linking of overt terrorism with social programs." Congress was justified in prohibiting all forms of aid to such terrorist groups, the brief contends, because groups like Hamas use the schools, mosques and clubs they fund "to recruit individuals to serve as suicide bombers," and then provide support for their families "once the attack has been carried out."
The ADL Ninth Circuit brief was prepared by David M. Raim, Philip J. Gooodinan, and Joy L. Langford of the Washington, DC office of Chadbourne & Parke in consultation with the League’s Washington office.