The Supreme Court heard oral arguments yesterday in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project which is a case concerning Patriot Act provisions that make it illegal to provide expert advice to groups linked to terrorism.
That did not seem to satisfy Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “So you can communicate, but the communications are censored,” Justice Ginsburg said. “You can be a member, you can attend meetings, you can discuss things, but there is a certain point at which the discussion must stop, right?”
Ms. Kagan responded, “The discussion must stop when you go over the line into giving valuable advice, training, support to these organizations.”
Ms. Kagan gave examples of prohibited conduct. A lawyer would commit a crime, she said, by filing a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of a terrorist group. Helping such a group petition international bodies is also a crime, she added.
Justice John Paul Stevens asked if there was an authentic risk that Mr. Fertig would be prosecuted were he to make a presentation on behalf of the Kurdish group at the United Nations. He seemed to expect a negative answer.
But Ms. Kagan would say only that the matter would involve a “prosecutorial judgment.”
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said at least one part of the law, banning expert advice, seemed vague to him. “I don’t know sitting down that I could tell,” he said, whether advice about peaceful advocacy was covered.
I don’t know if the oral arguments will be made available, but if they are you can find them at Oyez along with the summary of the case that they have already posted.