Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, politicians have periodically announced with fanfare that they would introduce a bill to strip the citizenship of Americans accused of terrorism. The idea tends to attract brief attention, but fades away, in part because the Supreme Court long ago ruled that the Constitution does not permit the government to take a person’s citizenship against his or her will.
As you can tell, I am not particularly impressed with the social justice engagement of the precious little pop tarts who decided to skip class to march – 40 people strong! – down a Main Line thoroughfare to let the suburban police department that keeps them safe know it is nothing but a ritzy extension of the KKK.
To riff on the bard, a Muslim ban by any other name is still a political and legal problem for President Donald Trump. Trump, in an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network almost immediately after signing the order, said that one of its purposes was to make it easier for Christians to enter the United States. "It seems to me the soft underbelly of the legal defense is this business about Christians, because not only is that subject to Equal Protection and Establishment Clause [questions] on its own, but it suggests that this is a Muslim ban,” said Michael Meltsner, a professor at Northeastern University School of Law.
President Trump vowed Thursday to overturn a law restricting political speech by tax-exempt churches, a potentially huge victory for the religious right and a gesture to his political base. In addressing the issue of churches and political speech, Mr. Trump said, “I will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution.”
Khan was scheduled to speak “on what we can do about the appalling turn of events in Washington." Khan has been a U.S. citizen for more than 30 years, and his son, Humayun Khan, a University of Virginia graduate and Muslim American Army captain who died in Iraq in 2004, was posthumously awarded a Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
Trump’s CIA Director stood up in public and explicitly threatened to target free speech rights and press freedoms, and it was almost impossible to find even a single U.S. mainstream journalist expressing objections or alarm, because the targets Pompeo chose in this instance are ones they dislike – much the way that many are willing to overlook or even sanction free speech repression if the targeted ideas or speakers are sufficiently unpopular.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a notorious racist. He prosecuted a former aide to Martin Luther King, Jr. after the former aide helped black voters cast ballots. He once claimed that immigrants “create cultural problems.” When Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) claimed at Sessions’ most recent confirmation hearing that Sessions’ record of “treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well-documented,” Desiree A. Fairooz, a spectator who says she attended the hearing in silent protest, let out a chuckle. For this chuckle, she was arrested, dragged out of the hearing by Capitol police, and eventually convicted of disorderly conduct and “parading or demonstrating on Capitol grounds.” She could receive up to a year in prison.
The Department of Justice has filed court papers arguing that a major federal civil rights law does not protect employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation, taking a stand against a decision reached under former President Barack Obama.
Yvette Felarca, who faces riot charges after participating in an anti-fascist demonstration, joins lawyers in warning over prosecutions nationwide. Felarca is one of hundreds of anti-Trump activists across the US facing prosecution for protesting against the White House and white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups that have increasingly organized in public. The criminal cases – including many in which protesters could face decades in prison – has drawn accusations that the government is trampling on the first amendment and broadly targeting critics in an aggressive effort to silence them.
Donald Trump’s frothing critique of Colin Kaepernick and the players, coaches, and teammates who have come to his side has garnered many revelatory reactions. Some of these responses tell us more about ourselves as Americans than do Trump’s initial description of any athlete who chooses to protest systemic racism and police brutality as being a “son of a bitch.”