The Supreme Court, Material Support, and the Lasting Impact of Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project


Over the course of the post-9/11 era, the U.S. Supreme Court has had much to say about the government’s response to terrorism as that response relates to military detention and trial before military commissions.

Notably, however, it has not had much to say about federal criminal law relating to terrorism until very recently. That changed in June 2010 with the Court’s decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, which rejected a series of constitutional challenges to a key counterterrorism statute.

This law review article by Robert Chesney argues that although the scope of Holder is limited, “the mere prospect of prosecution” under the material support statute may have a “substantial impact” on civil society and advocacy groups.