Supreme Court: Al-Qaeda is Not a Tax-Deductible Donation


Just when you thought you had filled out your April Papers right — with all of those supposedly feel-good tax-deductible donations you made in order to chip away at what you owe/can squeeze out of Uncle Sam — the Supreme Court swoops in to piss on your tax-return parade: the American government is not cool with you helping out terrorist groups. Sorry, but you’re definitely going to have to cancel your annual Bake Sale to Benefit the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam this year.

Via the New York Times, apparently, the matter of supporting terrorists groups as — you know, already illegal — was being contested as a first amendment issue. Which was lost in a 6-3 vote.


Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority in the 6-to-3 decision, said the law’s prohibition of providing some types of intangible assistance to groups the State Department says engage in terrorism did not violate the First Amendment.

The decision was the court’s first ruling on the free speech and associations rights of Americans in the context of terrorism since the Sept. 11 attacks. The law has been an important tool for prosecutors: Since 2001, the government says, it has charged about 150 defendants for violating the material-support provision, obtaining roughly 75 convictions.


So now Americans are just going to have to fight to argue who are and aren’t terrorist groups — Young Money, beware! — though in the mean time, you can find out who thinks who is a terrorist on this handy little cheat-sheet from — Where else? — Wikipedia! Just make sure you don’t give any “types of intangible assistance” to any of those people, and you’re cool.

And what is “intangible assistance,” you ask? Well, glad you did:

The material support law bars not only contributions of cash, weapons and other tangible aid but also “training,” “personnel,” “training” and “expert advice or assistance.”

In other words, next time Reggie Bin Ladin calls you up and is like, “BRO, Uncle Osama is being a Total. Fucking. Fuckass about me moving to Brooklyn because I’m in love with Rachel Schwartzberger. Says he’s gonna ‘cut me off.’ He also took my weed. I LIVE IN A CAVE AND I HAVE NO WEED AND I AM 23 AND FREAKING OUT ABOUT LIFE, MAN!” you’re going to have to carefully explain to him that

(A) Life in New York isn’t much better, especially the accommodations, and

(B) It’s against the constitution (or something) for you to give him any advice until he actually is “cut off” the family dime. Also, don’t funnel him any black arms. Or “beasters.” Those too.