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Federal Judge Rules That Part of the USA PATRIOT Act Is Unconstitutional
The Federal District Court for the Central District of California today released a ruling declaring unconstitutional a provision of the USA PATRIOT Act that made it a crime to advise or assist an organization designated as 'terrorist' by the U.S. government, even when that support is solely intended to promote lawful, non-violent activities. The Court decided that the provision, Section 805 of the USA PATRIOT Act, is unconstitutionally vague and violates the First and Fifth Amendments.
"Under PATRIOT, it would've been illegal to provide humanitarian or political advocacy training to the anti-apartheid African National Congress, which was a designated 'terrorist' organization before apartheid was defeated," said Kevin Bankston, EFF attorney and Equal Justice Works Fellow. "This decision ensures that Americans can exercise their First Amendment right to engage in non-violent political activism without being branded as terrorists-by-association."