AFSC v. Brady Historic Case

At a Glance

Date Filed: 

June 1, 1991

Case Description 

In AFSC v. Brady, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) along with other progressive legal groups sued to eliminate U.S. government restrictions against group travel to Vietnam and Cambodia.

Under regulations issued by the U.S. Treasury in 1988 as part of the Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA), individual travel was permissible but to “arrange, promote, or facilitate” group travel was not. Violators could have been fined up to $500,000 and jailed for 12 years. In 1989, the government did indeed fine the Lindblad Travel Agency $75,000 for violating the regulations, and the Treasury Department threatened to prosecute other groups as well.

The three plaintiffs – the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Geo-Vista Global Experiences, and Veterans for Peace – asserted that the regulations thwarted their educations and humanitarian functions by making it impossible to organize academic study groups, to travel with colleagues to assess humanitarian aid needs, or to engage in group fact-finding trips.

CCR, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee, and local Philadelphia counsel filed suit in June 1991 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and sought an injunction against the application of these regulations and a declaration by the court that they were unconstitutional.

Following the Treasury’s concession that the suit had standing, the restrictions were lifted when Secretary of State James Baker amended the travel regulations in the fall of 1991 to permit the organizing of travel groups to Vietnam. Travel restrictions to Cambodia were lifted in January 1992.