Civil Liberties After the Insurrection

US Capitol Dome. Blue night sky behind.
A Chorus of Voices Warns Against Creating a “Domestic Terrorism” Charge
January 20, 2021
​Defending our Rights in a Time of Rightist Revolts and Mass Media Handwringing
January 23, 2021

The January 6 attack on our democracy has led to renewed calls for a domestic terrorism law, expanded surveillance powers, laws to limit protest rights, and other civil liberties killing measures. Somehow, despite the demonstrated disutility of law enforcement on January 6, and the blatantly disparate treatment of those engaged in the violent assault on the Capitol compared to those protesting racial injustice, and the questions that have emerged about law enforcement sympathies with the attackers, Congress appears ready to hand police more power.

What is at stake for civil liberties after the assault on the Capitol? Who will suffer most from a domestic terrorism law? How do the political and racial biases of law enforcement and intelligence agencies impact civil liberties? Can we respond to an event like the Capitol Hill insurrection in a manner that upholds civil liberties? Isn’t this a time when law enforcement should be put under a microscope instead of being given more power?

To answer these questions and more, we hosted the following distinguished panel:

Alice Speri is a reporter at The Intercept, where she writes about the criminal justice system and civil rights. She has reported from Palestine, Haiti, El Salvador, Colombia, and across the United States. She is originally from Italy and lives in the Bronx.

Michael German is a fellow with the Liberty and National Security program at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School. He served sixteen years as an FBI Special Agent and then seven as a civil rights lobbyist with the ACLU. H. He is the author of the newly released, “Disrupt, Discredit, and Divide: How the New FBI Damages Democracy.”

Iman Boukadoum is the senior manager, Fighting Hate and Bias program. Previously, she was a senior staff attorney at the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) where she handled a diverse docket of discrimination, immigration, and national security cases. Boukadoum was the project manager and counsel of the militarization of police investigation at the ACLU Center of Justice, which culminated in a groundbreaking report, War Comes Home.

Arun Gupta is an investigative journalist who has written for The Intercept, The Daily Beast, The Washington Post, The Nation, Raw Story, The Guardian, and Jacobin. He is also a board member of Defending Rights & Dissent.