On July 13th, defense attorneys for Joseph Buddenberg, Maryam Khajavi, Nathan Pope and Adriana Stumpo (the AETA 4) presented oral arguments on their motion to strike down the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. The AETA 4 are being represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC), and other well-respected civil rights attorneys, including Tony Serra. The defense demanded that the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) be struck down as unconstitutional before Judge Ronald Whyte of the United States District Court, Northern District of California in San Jose.
The AETA is being used for the first time since its passage by Congress in 2006 to do exactly what civil rights advocates feared it would do – criminalize activities protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The oral arguments presented on July 13th were not about the allegations as directly applied to the AETA 4, but rather that the whole case should be dismissed now because AETA itself is unconstitutional.
Photo of the AETA 4 courtesy of the AETA 4 Support Committee. From left to right: Nathan Pope, Adriana Stumpo, Maryam Khajavi and Joseph Buddenberg.