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.
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.
The law suit was filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, I assume in Ann Arbor, on behalf of radio talk show host Michael Savage, Gregg Cunningham, President of the pro-life organization Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, and Iraqi War Marine veteran Kevin Murray. Each of these men feels his first and fifth amendments rights have been violated by the US government because it is, according to the TMLC, “attempting to chill their free speech, expressive association, and equal protection rights.”
Richard Thompson, president and chief council of TMLC, argues the DHS report on the extreme right wing was politically motivated to silence those who disagree with the Obama administration:
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.
I don’t know how far this law suit will go, but it will be very interesting to watch, nonetheless. I’m sure other groups such as National Right to Life, the NRA, and other right wing organizations will be watching closely, too.