“Anti-American”? House Members Move To Condemn Rep. Omar In Resolution

440px-Ilhan_Omar,_official_portrait,_116th_CongressI have recently been highly critical of reports that Rep. Iihan Omar (D., Minn.) has given up to one million dollars in campaign funds to her own husband’s company, one of the long-standing loopholes for corruption in Washington.  Omar has been highly controversial for her positions and statements but this should be a matter that unifies people across the political spectrum. However, the attention of her colleagues has not been on closing this loophole but instead on lashing out at her recent call for the “dismantling the whole system of oppression” in the United States from its economic to political structures. A resolution, introduced by Rep. Andy Biggs (R., Ariz) would denounce Omar for having “a documented history of expressing anti-American sentiments.”  The resolution is a mistake that undermines both free speech and democratic values.  It should be withdrawn.

Omar recently declared:

“We are not merely fighting to tear down the systems of oppression in the criminal justice system. We are fighting to tear down systems of oppression that exist in housing, in education, in health care, in employment, in the air we breathe. As long as our economy and political systems prioritize profit without considering who is profiting, who is being shut out, we will perpetuate this inequality,” she said. “We cannot stop at the criminal justice system, we must begin the work of dismantling the whole system of oppression wherever we find it.”

Many commentators and fellow members immediately denounced Omar’s positions. It was an example of how free speech is meant to work.  Omar’s speech was met with counter speech.

However, members now want a formal censure or condemnation from the House as a whole. It is obviously not going to happen with the Democratically controlled house. Yet, the resolution itself is a concern for what it says about the right of members to voice their views of the inherent flaws or abuses of our system. I do not happen to agree with Omar but I find the resolution far more concerning than her hyperbolic comments.

The resolution denounces Omar for advocating “a Marxist form of government that is incompatible with the principles laid out in the founding documents of the United States.”

As a Democratic nation, members have every right to call for sweeping reforms, even changing the emphasis or structure of our economic and political system.  Omar has become a member of Congress to seek such changes lawfully and constitutionally.  To her credit, she has overcome much in her life to attain her position in Congress and has become a global figure of influence.  I do not agree with her and will oppose many of her proposals.  However, we are all working within a constitutional structure that allows for and protects different visions for this country.

It is not enough to say that such resolution are just an exercise of free speech for other members.  These members are seeking to use the imprimatur of their house to denounce political opponents.  I have long opposed the use of such institutional statements, including most recently the effort on my own faculty to denounce Attorney General Bill Attorney as a law school institution.  Individual members, like faculty members, are free to join as individuals in such statements.  It is a misuse of the Congress to use resolution to denounce those with opposing political or economic views.

It is also a practice that makes for poor legislative cultures.  The House Democrats could endlessly pass resolutions condemning their opponents as racists or fascists.  Since these resolutions do not take any concrete action, courts are likely to view the matters as outside of the realm of judicial review or lacking a cognizable injury for judicial relief.  The result is to further the stifling intolerance for opposing views that we are seeing across the country, particularly on our campuses.  This becomes an insatiable appetite to use our institutions to denounce or silence or marginalize those with opposing views. The way to defend our system is not to use the Congress to denounce political opponents. We have gone through ugly periods like the Red Scare where such condemnations were comment and members used their institutional power to intimidate or coerce those with dissenting views.

The greatest “anti-American” threat to our freedoms is the effort to oppose or chill the exercise of free speech, particularly by a political leader.  The debate started by Omar is the ultimate example of our core values.  We can disagree with each other while affirming our right to call for and seek changes within our system.  The use of institutional resolutions of censure or condemnation undermine those values.  Members, like free speech, require space.  Indeed, in New York Times v. Sullivan, Justice William Brennan noted that “the freedoms of expression” require “breathing space…to survive.”

I do not question the sincere feelings of anger of these sponsors but they should withdraw this resolution in the interests of the very American values that they cite.


84 thoughts on ““Anti-American”? House Members Move To Condemn Rep. Omar In Resolution”

  1. WRONG! A House resolution is a majority statement and in no way violates any principle of Free Speech. A resolution condemning anyone’s verbal or other behavior is completely within the purview of members of the House.

  2. Plus one, well said. It was always the Red Scare that was unAmerican, and its proponents, because they were noisy, self-righteous, and aggressive, who unwarrantedly succeeded in transferring, as aggressive hypocrites do, their own lack of respect for the constitutional rights of their political opponents to the alleged taboos of communism and socialism, which as stand-alone political agendas, advocated for non-violently, were always completely protected by the First Amendment but somehow managed to be sectioned off as taboo. We’ve seen this movie before, and Professor Turley is exactly right to call out its present version and oppose it.

      1. If it is spoken like a true Communist Black Sheep, it is nonetheless a constitutionally protected exercise of Free Speech. Our Constitution does not prohibit advocation of communism, socialism, democracy or any other political viewpoint.

  3. What a bunch of chicken little excuse making crap. The filthy criminal should be not only reprimanded by resolution, but arrested by the Seargent of Arms, and deported back to the crap hole she illegally came hear from. SHE SHOULDN’T EVEN BE IN CONGRESS, she is here illeglly and breaking laws!!!!. and you ARE PROTECTING HER!!!!

  4. I have to agree with the idea that has been expressed many times before; “I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. Having said that, omar has commited actual crimes in this country and should be deported back to Somalia for her to answer for them. In Somalia, her actions would result in her being stoned to death for bigamy, adultery, fraud, theft and general dishonesty.

    1. I have to agree with the idea that has been expressed many times before; “I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”.

      Jonah Goldberg, before he started circling the toilet bowl, wrote a book called The Tyranny of Cliches. This was one of his examples. I ain’t taking a bullet for Natacha, Shill, or Gainesville, and neither should you.

  5. Send her back to that racist place. Where was it? Minnesota I think.
    We need internment camps for Nazis.

  6. The National Museum of African American History & Culture wants to make you aware of certain signs of whiteness: Individualism, hard work, objectivity, the nuclear family, progress, respect for authority, delayed gratification, more. Representative Omar probably got a stipend from the NMAA to spew her communist views.

    Democrats are America’s brownshirts

    Talking About Race

  7. Arguing about Omar is like arguing about GOP Rep Steve King from Iowa, the right wing nutcase finally primaried out, a fate we can wish for Omar coming up. She has no power, having been put in the corner by Pelosi and only has notoriety because Fox and the GOP want to pretend she is a Democratic leader. She isn’t.

    1. Steve King is a perfectly normal adult with a perfectly normal family life who founded and operated his own business for over 20 years and did not enter public life until he was nearly 50. He speaks quite bluntly, which bothers capons like Kevin McCarthy. He’s a ‘nutcase’ to you because you’re damaged goods.

      Omar hasn’t worked for a commercial company since she was an adolescent and has a rather….inneresting domestic life.

      1. DSS – I would say that Omar had a rather complicate domestic life. I am really not that interested.

        1. Paul, you mean you didn’t marry your sister to get her into this country.

  8. I gather MoveOn has told their minions to try thread-jacking with diversions.

  9. 1. Why is our immigration policy such that this vicious fraudster was ever admitted?

    2. How is it that she was ever naturalized?

    3. Why did the voters of her district (in which Somalis are a single-digit minority) think it cute to flip the bird at the rest of the country by electing her?

  10. Generally I would agree. But in this instance you are wrong. Free speech should not protect open subversion of the United States of America. Joseph McCarthy was 100% correct and because we have been purists of Free Speech, and open borders for illegal aliens, we have flooded this country with People who want to destroy our Country and way of life. Not for the betterment of Society and Advancing Civilization but instead to tear it down. I fully expect the Representatives of these United States to denounce anyone who speaks out for its destruction.
    The Congress put forth a proposal to denounce the Anti-American Omar that was put in power by Obama importing 50K somalis and putting them in one district so as to get a anti-american muslim communist in the Congress.

    We dont allow threats under Free Speech. Omar is threatening the whole country with her speech. Hitler wanted to radically transform America too. May Omar meet the same fate.
    do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

    Omar has NOT adhered to her Oath of Office. She openly calls for the destruction of the Constitution and America.

    1. Spot on! especially about NOT adhering to her oath of office. Time to stand up and defend all of the constitution. Turley, you are wrong on this. It is what separates the right from the left and you should realize what that difference is.

      1. Alma, does that mean we can terminate the other 534 members of the house and senate for also not upholding the oath they took? I certainly hope so.

    2. Plenty of empty planes setting now to haul Obama’s islamic nut job invaders back back to where they came from.

      I run into this new Anti American Billionaires new boy on the block, Grand Master J.

      His Race Baiting propaganda is just more of the same crap, but there seems no end to idiots on any side that buys that crap.

      Here he is yelling fire while he’s dumping gasoline.

      “he not ph’kin round no more”

  11. ‘the whole system of oppression wherever we find it.”’

    Omar is radical in the way she expresses herself and to some degree in what she says. She speaks to her base. Compared to Trump and some of the other Republican extremists she is conservative. Omar’s calling for the dismantling of ‘ the whole system of oppression wherever we find it.”’ is to be applauded. That is the job of leadership and responsibility, to fight oppression. She doesn’t advocate developing a Marxist System. This is an example of the oppressive positions of her opponents. Anything that proposes equality is seen as socialist or communist. Omar’s financial dealings with her husband is another thing. If this is found to be illegal then she should be prosecuted. However, so should any and all government leaders, workers, etc.; lot of prosecutions potentially.

    As far as free speech goes, the Republicans have their examples. When Rick Scott was Governor of Florida he ‘made’ government employees not use words that illustrated global warming, climate change, etc. Biggs is another hypocrite. Omar is far more necessary than most elected representatives. Sometimes over the top but working for the ideals set out in the Bill of Rights, Constitution, and all that this country was founded upon, in its own hypocrisy.

    If Omar accomplishes anything she exposes the racism, bigotry, hatred, and hypocrisy upon which the Republican Party is built.

    1. Reading this is like reading an alternative reality. You say she doesn’t advocate developing a Marxist system. I think you’re right–she’d rather impose Sharia law on everyone and probably exterminate all Jewish people. I find it systemic how you’ve chosen to project your views and behavior onto Republicans too. Everything you say about Republicans can be said about Democrats, twenty fold.

      1. ‘Sharia Law’

        This illustrates your close-minded, exaggerated, and ignorant understanding of the situation. These are carefully chosen and accurately relevant words. I am against what Israel has done and is doing. That doesn’t make me anti-semitic. Unless to a ‘yer either with us or agin us’ sort.

    1. $14 million is a lot to hide. If this were true I suspect the Democrats would jump all over this. If this is true it seems a lot more proovable than “Russia, Russia,Russia”.

      1. Trump’s campaign spending funds at his properties isn’t hidden. Just like Omar paying her husband’s consulting firm isn’t hidden.
        It’s not illegal, which is why it’s called a “loophole.”

        And there’s plenty that’s “proovable” (sic) in the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russians (e.g., no one — including Trump Jr. — contests the Trump Tower meeting, Papadopoulos was sentenced for lying to the FBI about Russian government contact intended to support the Trump campaign).

    2. If it’s a loophole then it must be legal. Stop your whining.

      1. That it’s legal doesn’t make it good. I’d rather that it not be legal for Omar’s and Trump’s campaigns — and other campaigns — to funnel campaign funds into their own pockets. I think the law should change.
        Stop your own whining.

        1. Commit, these are the guys who truly believe Trump is draining the swamp.

    3. this is old hat for politics dude. it’s legal. that’s why personal injury lawyers in big cities run for office so much even when they cant win.

      they reap the benefit of the political advertising in their personal injury practices

      Im not condemning them, even though 90% are Democrats ,not condemning trump either

      I havent looked into Omar, I will abstain from comment on her

  12. One day I hope to disagree with one of your positions, just for the sake of balance. Today is not that day.

    I find many of Rep. Omar’s positions to be repulsive. These comments, along with her attacks of those who disagree, are in my repulsive category.As you explain, the proper response is NOT a resolution of denouncement. The appropriate response is to stand up and speak out against this trash. She will attack you as she attacks all of her critics without explaining and defending her points of view and game on – played on the battlefield of ideas where these issues are meant to be won and lost.

  13. I agree, Withdraw the resolution. Representative Omar’s statement was neither Marxist or anti-American. She basically echoes Franklin Delano Roosevelt with what she said, Of course Republicans hated him too.

    1. FDR was a closet fascist who was pen pals with Mussolini, as well as a “great admirer” of Mussolini.

      His New Deal caused the Great Depression to last for years longer than it should have lasted.

      So it is not just Republicans who dislike him, it is also a very large segment of independents, and some Democrats.

    2. Roman Berry, FDR after all was a decided racist, or at least a coward of some significance on race. The fact that he instituted Maxist solutions to the American landscape would definitely give him many points of agreement with the Democrats and garner disrespect from the Conservatives. Nothing startling here.

  14. Let me get this right. Rep. Omar has free speech rights, but Rep. Biggs does not?

    1. Let me get this right. You ask a loaded question that implies Rep. Biggs does not have free speech rights, but you provide no evidence whatsoever that your implication is true.

        1. No, it wasn’t. Omar’s comments (the referent of “Rep. Omar has free speech rights”) weren’t made in a Congressional Resolution (what Turley describes as “a formal censure or condemnation from the House as a whole”). Turley hasn’t called for Biggs not to publicly criticize Omar.
          Yours is a false analogy. No surprise that your loaded question rests on a faulty foundation.

          1. Committ – here is what Turley wrote:
            A resolution, introduced by Rep. Andy Biggs (R., Ariz) would denounce Omar for having “a documented history of expressing anti-American sentiments.” The resolution is a mistake that undermines both free speech and democratic values. It should be withdrawn.

            Hence my question. Omar gets free speech, but Biggs doesn’t?

            1. Biggs has free speech.

              The First Amendment doesn’t guarantee passage of a Congressional Resolution, nor does it suggest that those who oppose the C.R. shouldn’t say so.

              I don’t think you’re stupid, and I assume that you understand the difference. (Am I wrong? Do you not understand the difference?) I think you simply don’t want to deal honestly with your false analogy.

    2. What your question implied Paul is not at all what Turley said or implied. Turkey clearly said that he opposes their use of the institutional powers of the House of Representatives to censure Omar. Nowhere did he say they have no free speech right to challenge or criticize her remarks as individuals or even as a collective in the form of a public statement. A censure resolution is going well beyond a public statement. It is using the power and authority of their office to create an anti-free speech environment and sentiment around a specific individual. This is McCarthyism and we should never again want a repeat of this.

  15. Thank you, Mr. Turley! As always, your reasoned and unbiased explanation of your opinion is much appreciated.

  16. One thing about Republicans Trump can praise Putin, the Chinese, dictators around the world but Ms Omar is anti AMERICAN.

    1. You should love Jinping and the ChiComms.

      They share your hatred of Trump.

      TDS is a helluva condition.

      1. So you took a comment about “Putin, the Chinese, dictators around the world,” and you cherrypick from it, ignoring the beginning and the end and dishonestly pretending that Justice Holmes should love China.

        You need to up your argumentation skills.

        I think “TDS” is exhibited by Trump supporters who are willing to lie, cherrypick, name call, … to protect Trump.

        1. in other words: cherry picking for me, but not for thee

          1. You don’t quote any cherrypicking from me.
            Can you substantiate your claim?

        2. While you may be right CommitToHonestDiscussion that Trump supporters are the ones who suffer from TDS, I think they also suffer from an ailment that could be the primary cause of their TDS. I have labeled it STD, Sycophantic Trump Disorder. Depending on the severity of the condition, it manifests in a number of STD variants: Sycophantic Trump Dimwits, Sycophantic Trump Deplorables, Sycophantic Trump Dumbasses, Sycophantic Trump Despicables, Sycophantic Trump Defenders (the least severe variant), Sycophantic Trump Detestables, Sycophantic Trump Disreputables, and Sycophantic Trump Dislikeables.

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