Few organizations have been more engaged in fighting President Donald Trump’s attacks on civil liberties and civil rights than the ACLU. But it’s important to remember that political candidates — including Donald Trump — have constitutional rights, too.
A judge recently held that Donald Trump may have committed incitement when, at a campaign rally in Kentucky last year, he called on his audience to eject protesters who were subsequently manhandled by the crowd. While it’s a closer case than most, I don’t think those words can clear the high bar for what constitutes incitement.
The case arises from a March 2016 campaign rally in Louisville. A video from the event shows a Black woman surrounded by a sea of shouting white faces contorted by fury. Trump yells, “Get ‘em outta here! Get out!” He adds, with notably less enthusiasm, “Don’t hurt ‘em.” The woman is shoved, screamed at, and spun like a top by a multitude of Trump loyalists. It’s a truly scary sight.
The woman, Kashiya Nwanguma, and two other attendees who were similarly ejected from the Louisville rally have filed a lawsuit over the incident. They assert claims of assault and battery against several of the rally’s attendees, and anyone who physically abused them should absolutely be held liable. But the plaintiffs also sued Trump, alleging that his speech incited the other defendants to act violently. They pointed to a history of violence at Trump’s rallies and his prior assurances that he’d cover the legal fees of his supporters who roughed up protesters.
There is no question that Trump’s decision to use his bully…
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