Jimmy Carter is disgrace to the presidency, a disgrace to America, and a disgrace to all free people. “Jimmy Carter Worries Court Ruling May Affect His Interaction With Terror Groups,” by Patrick Goodenough for CNS News, June 22 (thanks to Weasel Zippers):
(CNSNews.com) – Former President Jimmy Carter has voiced concern that Monday’s Supreme Court ruling on “material support” to terrorist groups may criminalize his “work to promote peace and freedom.”
Carter, whose advocacy has entailed contact with groups designated by the U.S. government as “foreign terrorist organizations” (FTOs) – notably Hamas and Hezbollah – said he was disappointed by the court decision.
The high court, in a 6-3 decision, upheld a federal law that forbids providing “material support” to an FTO, ruling that it can be applied to U.S. organizations whose engagement with terrorists involves promoting non-violent solutions to conflicts.
The law, part of the post-9/11 USA Patriot Act, forbids the provision of any aid, defined as including “service,” “training” or “expert advice or assistance,” to a designated FTO.
Although the free speech challenge derived from organizations wanting to work with terrorist groups in and around Turkey and in Sri Lanka – the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Tamil Tigers (LTTE) – the ramifications may be most evident in 2010 in the Middle East, amid growing calls for Western governments to recognize and engage with groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.
Arguing that there can be no peace in the region without those groups’ participation, Carter has reached out to Hamas and Hezbollah, rejecting criticism that doing so could be viewed as legitimizing their violent activities. Since the 1980s both groups have killed hundreds of people in suicide bombings and other terror attacks, most of them Israelis and Americans.
The administration’s argument, presented by Solicitor General Elena Kagan (now a Supreme Court nominee) earlier this year, was in part that the intent of Congress was to block all assistance to terrorists, recognizing that any form of support – even imparting peaceful skills – might benefit and strengthen the organization.
Six of the justices concurred.
“At bottom, plaintiffs simply disagree with the considered judgment of Congress and the Executive that providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization – even seemingly benign support – bolsters the terrorist activities of that organization,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority.
In a statement reacting to the decision, Carter said, “We are disappointed that the Supreme Court has upheld a law that inhibits the work of human rights and conflict resolution groups.”
“The ‘material support law’ – which is aimed at putting an end to terrorism – actually threatens our work and the work of many other peacemaking organizations that must interact directly with groups that have engaged in violence,” he said.
“The vague language of the law leaves us wondering if we will be prosecuted for our work to promote peace and freedom.”…