U.S. Court Denies Holy Land Foundation?s Challenge to U.S. Government Asset Seizure

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Tuesday, October 1, 2002
Bruce Zagaris
On August 8, 2002, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler gave the Bush Administration a major victory in its counter-terrorism financial enforcement efforts when it denied almost all of the claims of the large Muslim charity in the U.S., the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), against the U.S. arising out of seizure and blocking actions taken in December 2001. HLF sought to enjoin the U.S. from continuing to block or otherwise interfere with access to or disposition of its assets, alleging that the blocking order violated the Administrative Procedure Act, the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution; and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The court denied HLF?s request for a Preliminary Injunction, because it did not show a substantial likelihood of success on its claims, the injury to the U.S. Government and the public interest (especially in curbing the escalating violence in the Middle East and its effects on the security of the U.S. and the world as a whole), and the need for courts to defer to the president?s choice of weapons in combating terrorism, weighed against granting the preliminary injunction.