Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, opened up a star-studded subcommittee hearing with another video montage of recent race-riot violence, echoing that used by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, during a House Judiciary hearing last week.
Cruz, chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, was hosting a panel titled “The Right of the People Peaceably to Assemble: Protecting Speech by Stopping Anarchist Violence.”
Cruz, who recently sponsored the RECLAIM Act, which would allow people to sue jurisdictions that fail to protect them during riots, said recent violence in several blue-run cities and states did not fall under First Amendment protections.
Allowing the violence to pass as “free speech” posed an even greater threat to one of U.S. democracy’s most paramount civil liberties.
“The First Amendment is first for a reason,” Cruz said.
“It guarantees not only free speech but the right of the people to peaceably assemble,” he continued. “Peaceably matters a great deal in that protection.”
Likewise, under subsequent amendments such as the Equal Protection Clause established by the post-Civil War 14th Amendment, allowing such violence to continue for partisan political points was itself a violation, Cruz noted.
“Denying fair protection of law enforcement is a civil rights violation for any American who is denied,” he said, before queuing up a powerful video that featured scenes of violence and the victims of it.
That included former St. Louis police officer David Dorn, who was killed while working as a security guard shortly after he had retired with 38 years in law-enforcement.
Others, it suggested, were targeted killings of police officers.
The committee’s ranking minority member, Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, again denied the violence was a problem when reacting to the video immediately afterward.
“Nobody is condoning any violence against anyone by anyone,” she said.
Among the notable guest panelists slated to appear before the subcommittee were:
- conservative journalist Andy Ngo, who has led the way in on-the-scene reporting from violent riots in Seattle and Portland
- left-leaning law professor Jonathan Turley, who raised eyebrows previously by making a constitutional argument in defense of President Donald Trump during impeachment hearings
- acting Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Ken Cuccinelli