The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, announced that yesterday evening it filed a federal lawsuit against Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. The lawsuit claims that her Department’s “Rightwing Extremism Policy,” as reflected in the recently publicized Intelligence Assessment, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment ,” violates the civil liberties of combat veterans as well as American citizens by targeting them for disfavored treatment on account of their political beliefs. Click here to read the complaint filed by the Thomas More Law Center.
Napolitano tried to blunt the public furor over the Report by a half-hearted apology to veterans, but she left out of her apology all of the other Americans her Department has targeted because of their political beliefs. In fact, officials in DHS now admit that their internal office of civil liberties objected to the language in the extremism report, but the Department issued it anyway.
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center stated, “Janet Napolitano is lying to the American people when she says the Report is not based on ideology or political beliefs. In fact, her report would have the admiration of the Gestapo and any current or past dictator in the way it targets political opponents. This incompetently written intelligence assessment, which directs law enforcement officials across the country to target and report on American citizens who have the political beliefs mentioned in the report, will be used as a tool to stifle political opposition and opinions. It will give a pretext for opponents of those Americans to report them to police as rightwing extremists and terrorists. You can imagine what happens then.”
The Report specifically mentions the following political beliefs that law enforcement should use to determine whether someone is a “rightwing extremist”:
- Opposes restrictions on firearms
- Opposes lax immigration
- Opposes the policies of President Obama regarding immigration, citizenship, and the expansion of social programs
- Opposes continuation of free trade agreements
- Opposes same-sex marriage
- Has paranoia of foreign regimes
- Fear of Communist regimes
- Opposes one world government
- Bemoans the decline of U.S. stature in the world.
- Upset with loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs to China and India
- . . . and the list goes on
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on behalf of nationally syndicated conservative radio talk show host, Michael Savage, Gregg Cunningham (President of the pro-life organization Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, Inc (CBR)), and Iraqi War Marine veteran Kevin Murray. The Law Center claims that Napolitano’s Department (DHS) has violated the First and Fifth Amendment Constitutional rights of these three plaintiffs by attempting to chill their free speech, expressive association, and equal protection rights. The lawsuit further claims that the Department of Homeland Security encourages law enforcement officers throughout the nation to target and report citizens to federal officials as suspicious rightwing extremists and potential terrorists because of their political beliefs.
Thompson added, “The Obama Administration has declared war on American patriots and our Constitution. The Report even admits that the Department has no specific information on any plans of violence by so-called ‘rightwing extremists.’ Rather, what they do have is the expression of political opinions by certain individuals and organizations that oppose the Obama administration’s policies, and this expression is protected speech under the First Amendment.”
The Law Center is asking the court to declare that the DHS policy violates the First and Fifth Amendments, to permanently enjoin the Policy and its application to the plaintiffs’ speech and other activities, and to award the plaintiffs their reasonable attorney’s fees and costs for having to bring the lawsuit.