AG Loretta Lynch: Prosecution of anti-Muslim rhetoric

[Before I could finish this post, Ms. Lynch commented on her remarks made at the 2015 Muslim Advocates dinner. Should we follow the lead of “Islamic abrogation” on this issue? Who could say?]

Let’s look at Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s speech at the 2015 Muslim Advocates dinner. A recording of her remarks at the event reside at C-span.org. I made a clip of the following sentences:

Now obviously this is a country that’s based on free speech, but when it edges toward violence, when we see, uh, the potential for someone lift, lifting that mantle of anti-Mulsim rhetoric or, as we saw after 9/11, violence directed at individuals who may not even be Muslims but may be perceived to be Muslims … when we see that, we will take action. … Since 9/11, we have had over 1000 investigations into acts of anti-Muslim hatred, including, uh, rhetoric and bigoted actions, with, with over 45, uh, prosecutions arising out of that. … I think it’s important, however, that as we again talk about the importance of free speech, we make it clear that actions predicated on violent talk are not America; they are not who we are, they’re not what we do and they will be prosecuted.

The objectionable content: Speech that, “edges toward violence”, and, “see[ing] … the potential for someone … lifting that mantle of anti-Mulsim rhetoric”.

I feel confident that the first phrase, speech that “edges toward violence”, should not be codified into law. (I hesitate to include that it can not be codified into good law, as we know of unconstitutional or otherwise bad laws in the past, possibly in the present and should be confident of them being written into the future.)

As for “lifting that mantle of anti-Muslim rhetoric” my head might explode if I attempt to clarify with, “see[ing] the potential for” that in someone. If I–in an act of self-preservation–ignore lifting mantles and reduce the snippet to “anti-Muslim rhetoric”, then what remains still is the problem of “seeing…the potential”. If I–in an affirmative act of compassion–cut her some slack, out of whole cloth, then I would grant that “rhetoric” means speech and “violent talk” means speech that promotes violent behavior. To quote “Dirty” Harry Callahan, “Do I feel lucky?” I’ll let Feck from River’s Edge give the answer.

No. … No.

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