Speaking this week with host Jamie Allman on 97.1 FM radio in St. Louis, Missouri, former New Jersey state Judge Andrew Napolitano said it would be “reprehensible” to label Black Lives Matter a terrorist group. Some people have suggested such action in the wake of the killing of five cops in Dallas, Texas that overlapped with a Thursday nonviolent protest related to police brutality.
Napolitano, who is a Ron Paul Institute Advisory Board member as well as the senior judicial analyst at Fox News, provides reasoning for his stark conclusion as follows:
This is free speech. If someone listens to your speech and engages in an act of violence, you are not liable for that unless, unless you commanded the violence and there was no time for more speech to neutralize your command. That’s not Judge Napolitano on the Constitution. That’s the Supreme Court on the Constitution in a unanimous opinion in 1969 called Brandenburg v. Ohio, which is the last time they looked at this: When can a speaker be held liable for the violence of the audience? But, to try and silence speech by labeling an organization a terrorist organization — I’m sorry to make this comparison — that’s what Stalin and Hitler did.
Listen to Napolitano’s complete interview here:
Interestingly, the Supreme Court decision of Brandenburg v. Ohio that Napolitano says protects Black Lives Matter held in favor of the speech rights of a man the justices described as “a leader of a Ku Klux Klan group.”
A petition, started July 6 at the White House website, asks the United States government to designate Black Lives Matter as a terrorist group just as the Islamic State (ISIS) is designated. That petition has already garnered in excess of the 100,000 signatures needed to set in motion a response from the Obama administration. While the Obama administration will likely reject the petition’s request, it is a request that appeals to some American politicians.
The designation of any group as a terrorist group carries with it significant consequences. Included in the consequences is that anyone who some government bureaucrat thinks may have a connection to the group could face summary punishment, as demonstrated by the many people arbitrarily denied the ability to fly or subjected to increased Transportation Security Administration (TSA) harassment at airports because their names have ended up on one of the US government’s so-called terror watch lists. Plus, there is support from President Barack Obama and pressure in Congress for prohibiting people on terror watch lists from buying or possessing guns. People may also be prosecuted for financially assisting a designated terrorist group or be placed on a secret targeted killings list because of a purported connection to such a group.
Reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.