This morning I will be testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the expansion of domestic terrorism investigations. The hearing is titled “Examining the ‘Metastasizing’ Domestic Terrorism Threat After the Buffalo Attack” and will begin at 10 am in the Hart Senate Office Building (Room 216). The written testimony is linked below.
The Democrats have proposed legislation that would create news offices for the investigation of domestic terrorism. It would impose reporting, training, and assessment of “the domestic terrorism threat posed by White supremacists and neo-Nazis, including White supremacist and neo-Nazi infiltration of Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies and the uniformed services.” The legislation also directs these offices to prioritize certain domestic terrorism cases. It is that final element that runs against the grain of the Constitution and the principle of separation of powers.
As discussed in the written testimony, we all have ample reason to oppose these violent elements on both the left and the right. The Constitution imposes limits on the range of action for Congress in addressing such issues from the First Amendment to the doctrine of the separation of powers. The “Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act” is an example of how such means can be well-intended but still contravene constitutional principles. I encourage the Senate to reconsider this approach to address those concerns.
Here are the witnesses who will appear at the hearing:
Robert A. Pape, PhDProfessor Of Political Science And Director Of The Chicago Project On Security And ThreatsUniversity of ChicagoChicago, IL
Michael GermanFellow, Liberty And National Security Program, Brennan Center For JusticeFormer Special Agent, Federal Bureau of InvestigationWashington, D.C.
Garnell Whitfield, Jr.
Justin E. HerdmanFormer U.S. AttorneyNorthern District of OhioCleveland, OH
Professor Jonathan TurleyShapiro Professor Of Public Interest LawThe George Washington University Law SchoolWashington, D.C.