Loading...

Law Professor Suggests New Law to Undermine White Supremacists

May 27, 2021 by Tom Ramstack
Law Professor Suggests New Law to Undermine White Supremacists
March 7, 2021 - Minneapolis -- Thousands march the day before the start of jury selection in the Derek Chauvin murder trial. The former Minneapolis Police officer is charged with the murder of George Floyd on May 25th, 2020.

WASHINGTON — A Georgetown University law professor called for a new federal law to clamp down on white supremacist militias during a congressional hearing Wednesday.

She said their threats of violence are growing but local law enforcement personnel are unprepared to deal with them.

“This is not a local problem,” said Mary McCord, legal director at Georgetown’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection.

She testified before the House Oversight and Reform subcommittee on civil rights and civil liberties during one of a series of congressional hearings following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol building.

Lawmakers at the hearing repeated assertions that the insurrection was a symptom of a bigger problem that could no longer be ignored.

McCord said law enforcement agencies are hampered in their efforts against the militias because they typically must wait until one of their members violates a criminal law, such as assaulting someone or trespassing onto government property.

Only rarely are white supremacists arrested on criminal charges, McCord said. When they are arrested, the police action does minimal damage to the militias.

“Despite the threat, and despite FBI Director Christopher Wray’s testimony that militia violent extremism is one of the most dangerous extremist threats in the United States, private militias continue to recruit, train and deploy largely unimpeded,” McCord said in her testimony.

Some of the militias that participated in the Jan. 6 insurrection include the Oathkeepers, QAnon and the Proud Boys. 

A better option would be a federal law that seeks to undermine and dismantle their organizational efforts that promote violence, McCord said.

“Private militias are not merely a local public safety problem,” she said. “They frequently travel and transport weapons interstate.”

When confronted about their weapons, they typically invoke their Second Amendment right to bear arms.

McCord said the Second Amendment is not the issue as much as risks created by private militias willing to attack government institutions.

“As the January 6 attack demonstrated, [militias] present not only a public safety threat but also a national security threat,” she said.

She recommended a federal law that empowers police and the Justice Department to seek injunctions ordering militia members to cease activities that threaten public safety. 

The law also should allow police to seize their weapons while taking both civil action against the militias and prosecuting them with criminal charges, McCord said.

The lawmakers generally agreed white supremacists must be confronted forcefully.

“The people who stormed the Capitol were not patriots, they were not tourists,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., chairman of the subcommittee on civil rights and civil liberties.

He suggested a broader effort by law enforcement agencies to gather evidence on the militias to prevent further violent attacks.

Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, said, “Violence should find no safe harbor in any law or anything we do.”

Statements by lawmakers and witnesses largely paralleled testimony two weeks ago from U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland as he spoke before the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“The threat of lethality is higher than it ever was,” Garland said. “I have not seen a more dangerous threat to democracy than the invasion of the U.S. Capitol.” 

In The News

Health

Voting

Congress

February 3, 2023
by Dan McCue
Bipartisan Bill to Benefit ‘VetDogs’ Reintroduced

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan bill intended to benefit service dogs working with disabled veterans has been reintroduced by Rep. Patrick... Read More

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan bill intended to benefit service dogs working with disabled veterans has been reintroduced by Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C. H.R. 807, The Working Dog Commemorative Coin Act, would direct the Treasury Department to mint a three-coin commemorative series honoring the role working dogs... Read More

February 3, 2023
by Dan McCue
Comer Determined to Advance Inquiries Into Bidens, White House

WASHINGTON — Speaking before the National Press Club this week, House Oversight Chair James Comer, R-Ky., said his panel is... Read More

WASHINGTON — Speaking before the National Press Club this week, House Oversight Chair James Comer, R-Ky., said his panel is determined to press investigations into President Joe Biden and his family to ensure they did not illegally profit from relationships with China. “Unfortunately … I feel... Read More

February 2, 2023
by Dan McCue
McCarthy, Biden, Have ‘Good’ First Meeting on Debt Crisis 

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., emerged with a smile from an hour of highly anticipated budget talks with... Read More

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., emerged with a smile from an hour of highly anticipated budget talks with President Joe Biden on Wednesday, but gave no indication how quickly next steps will progress to avoid a default on the national debt. “The president and... Read More

February 2, 2023
by Dan McCue
House Votes to Boot Rep. Omar From Foreign Affairs Committee

WASHINGTON — The House voted largely along party lines to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., from the Foreign Affairs Committee.... Read More

WASHINGTON — The House voted largely along party lines to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., from the Foreign Affairs Committee. The resolution voted on Thursday cited a half dozen comments Omar had made between 2019 and 2021 that were deemed to be antisemitic. In the end,... Read More

February 2, 2023
by Dan McCue
Travel Group Urges White House, Congress to Take Steps to Boost Industry

WASHINGTON — The travel industry has made progress in recovering from the depths of the coronavirus pandemic, but a full... Read More

WASHINGTON — The travel industry has made progress in recovering from the depths of the coronavirus pandemic, but a full recovery won’t be achieved until the last COVID restrictions are lifted, including restrictions on travel from China, representatives of the U.S. Travel Association said on Thursday.... Read More

January 30, 2023
by Dan McCue
Kilmer Says Best Economic Returns Depend on Bipartisanship

WASHINGTON — Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., admits he initially found the notion slightly intimidating. Day after day as he arrived... Read More

WASHINGTON — Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., admits he initially found the notion slightly intimidating. Day after day as he arrived for work in the economic development office in Tacoma-Pierce County, Washington, he was greeted by a sign that said, “We are competing with everyone, everywhere, every... Read More

News From The Well