So what did the plaintiff try to do?
The law was challenged by Ralph D. Fertig, a civil rights activist who said he wanted to help a militant Kurdish group in Turkey find peaceful ways to achieve its goals.Although a broad reading of free speech rights gave corporations personhood and a voice in our democracy, that same broad reading disappears when it comes to humanitarian speech to associate. Association rights that might help those under terrorist rule. Fox News explains:
Did the founding fathers intend limitations of free speech and association rights on the possibility of someone else's terrorist activities? What strict constructionist would buy into this activist morphing of the original intent? Isn't it odd the liberal justices are the ones defending the constitution, while the activist conservative justices have allowed the current political winds to influence their ruling.
Rejecting a First Amendment challenge, the Supreme Court on Monday upheld a federal law that bans providing “material support” to terrorist organizations. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority in the 6-to-3 decision, said the law’s prohibition on providing some forms of intangible assistance to groups said by the State Department to engage in terrorism did not violate the First Amendment. “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,” the chief justice wrote … even if the supporters meant to promote only the groups’ nonviolent ends.” He was joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Anthony M. Kennedy and Samuel A. Alito Jr.
NY Times: The court’s opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. on behalf of five other justices, ruled ... Even peaceful assistance to a terror group can further terrorism, the chief justice wrote, in part by lending them legitimacy and allowing them to pretend to be negotiating while plotting violence.
Justice Stephen G. Breyer took the unusual step of summarizing his dissent from the bench … the majority had been too credulous in accepting the government’s argument that national security concerns required restrictions on the challengers’ speech, and “failed to insist upon specific evidence, rather than general assertion.”
In his dissent, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, Justice Breyer concluded that the majority “deprives the individuals before us of the protection the First Amendment demands.”
Since 2001, the government says, it has prosecuted about 150 defendants
for violating the material-support law, obtaining roughly 75 convictions.