Veterans Peace Convoy v. Schultz Historic Case

At a Glance

Date Filed: 

September 1988

Case Description 

Veterans Peace Convoy v. Schultz is a case in which the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) represented a veterans’ group that had been stopped at the border when it tried to leave the United States with humanitarian aid for Nicaragua.

In September 1988, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) won a significant victory for the Nicaraguan humanitarian aid campaign. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas did away with licensing requirements for humanitarian aid under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), issuing a declaratory judgment barring the President and the Executive Branch from regulating or prohibiting donations of goods to a foreign country “which the donor intends to relieve human suffering and which articles can reasonably be expected to serve that end.”

This ruling meant that the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the Department of Treasury was prohibited from carrying out the licensing procedure that it had instituted. The victory was cemented in February 1989 when the government withdrew its appeal. Since there were no contrary decisions in any other jurisdiction, U.S. donors were able to treat this decision as the primary exposition of the law. There was no need to apply for a license for the donation of humanitarian goods, and all such goods being shipped overland to Nicaragua through south Texas could not be legally stopped.