For those of you who may have wondered why Republicans put up such a fight over judicial appointments, especially those to the Appellate court system, last Wednesday's ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reveals the answer.
Consistent with its other lunatic judgments (recently covered by columnist Ann Coulter (in her article, "Judicial Tyranny?"), the Court ruled 2-1 that parts of the 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act were unconstitutional. It found that a person has the constitutional right to aid "personnel," or provide "training" and lucre to groups or organizations that the United States Government believes are terroristic. According to the judgment of the Court, laws whose purpose it is to preclude "material support" for terrorism "[blur] the line between protected expression and unprotected expression." Supporters of terror have rights too, apparently.
Echoing the sentiment felt by many Arab and Muslim Americans toward terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, Judge Harry Pregerson explained that the majority opinion felt that "a person who simply sends a check to a school or orphanage run by [a U.S.-designated terrorist group] could be convicted under the statute, even if that individual is not aware of the [group's] designation or of any unlawful activities undertaken by the [group]."
Compare this to a written statement submitted to the Orlando Sentinel on April 30, 2002, by Abdurahman Alamoudi:
"Hamas may be on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations, and may deserve that designation for some of its actions -- such as unconscionable bombings of civilians -- but this is not the 'Hamas' I support. What I support is the legal military defense of Palestine, and the political and humanitarian work of Hamas to provide representation to the occupied territories as well as medical, educational and other desperately needed social services to the Palestinian people."
Mr. Alamoudi is currently in federal prison awaiting trial for allegedly smuggling cash on behalf of the government of Libya, a state which supports international terrorism. According to the Wall Street Journal on December 3, 2003, this is "money that prosecutors suspect was intended to finance terrorism."
It is a sad commentary that legal professionals do not feel in the least bit compelled to require or hold accountable under the law those Americans who contribute money to a Designated Terrorist Organizations? When American soldiers are dying abroad so that the rest of us can remain free at home, is it really too much to ask of our fellow citizens to take a small amount of time out of their day to do a little research about the organizations we wish to support financially? Judge Pregerson seem to think so.
Furthermore, Judge Pregerson's decision (which seems to agree with Alamoudi that terrorists can also be humanitarians) provides a legal loophole to exculpate the behavior of those who "accidentally" donate money to these organizations. According to the Los Angeles Times on December 4, 2003, Judge Johnnie B. Rawlinson, the lone dissenter, confirms that "the ruling would allow U.S. supporters of groups designated as terrorist to escape prosecution by pleading ignorance"
Last Wednesday's events are an eye opener.
Liberal jurists, operating under the guise of living constitutional theory, have ignored or eschewed popular, mainstream views in deference to the far-Left positions maintained by America's elites. As a result, the 9th Circuit Court has frustrated many Americans in the past. In no obvious way, however, did it place the lives of adult Americans in mortal danger. Until yesterday, that is.
The 9th does not seem content with waging a war against traditional American culture and morality. It now wants to endanger us all by regulating the ability of our elected leaders to defend us. It is one thing to frustrate the American people with their loony decisions. It is an entirely different story to put our lives in jeopardy by means of an arbitrary judicial interpretation that makes tolerable and constitutional one's support for terrorism in even the smallest capacity.
Many on the Left, however, will certainly agree with Georgetown University Law Center Professor David Cole's analysis relating to the 9th Circuit's decision. According to the Associated Press, Prof. Cole observed that the Court's judgment "declares unconstitutional one of the linchpins of the Ashcroft domestic anti-terrorism strategy."
Undoubtedly, Ashcroft-haters will rejoice at the fact that the Court's decision could hamper Ashcroft's efforts to crack down on terrorists. They do this for two reasons: 1) because they hate him; and 2) because many of them are sympathetic to the goals of recognized terrorist organizations (as evidenced above). But both of these rationales obfuscate an important point. This act, secret evidence and all, was signed into law in 1996 by Bill Clinton! So if one were level-headed and not blinded completely by a visceral hatred for the Bush Administration, then it would not be difficult to see that the law in question was designed to fight terror, not to support some perceived right-wing fascist conspiracy (which would have required the complicity of President Clinton, who signed the act into law.)
The majority opinion was nothing more than a slap across the faces of President Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft, both of who have maintained that no moral distinction can be made between those who carry out terrorist attacks and those who harbor, feed, or house terrorists.
The 9th Circuit Court's decision is an outrage. The American public may be able to temper its disgust when the courts find unconstitutional the Pledge of Allegiance, when they legalize discrimination (whether it be Dredd Scott v. Sanford or laws allowing racially gerrymandered college admissions tests), or when they protect gay "unions." But if we are not vigilant, we may find our country has been obliterated by Islamist terrorists, courtesy of the judicial logic that permits recognized terrorist organizations and their devotees to exercise their "rights" under the Constitution of these United States.