The Lawfare Podcast: Mary McCord and Jason Blazakis on Criminalizing Domestic Terrorism

By Jen Patja Howell
Saturday, January 5, 2019, 1:30 PM

The murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville in 2017 and other recent events have drawn in the public discourse to the fact that domestic terrorism is not a federal crime in and of itself. Earlier this week, Benjamin Wittes sat down with two experts on domestic terrorism to talk about ways that it might be incorporated into our criminal statutes.

Mary McCord is a professor of practice at Georgetown Law School, a senior litigator at the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at Georgetown Law School, and the former acting assistant attorney general for national security at the U.S. Department of Justice. Jason Blazakis is a former State Department official in charge of the office that designates foreign terrorist organizations and a professor of practice at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Both have proposed ideas in recent months to recognize domestic terrorism in U.S. law. They joined Ben to talk about their very different proposals for how domestic terrorism might become a crime.

They talked about why domestic terrorism is currently left out of the criminal code, their two proposals for how it might be incorporated and how those proposals differ, and the First Amendment consequences of their competing proposals: