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Greenwald warns Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee’s new bill will ‘criminalize speech:’ Prosecute those who disagree

Journalist Glenn Greenwald warned on a Tuesday episode of “System Update” that a Democrat-sponsored bill could circumvent the First Amendment and silence speech in the name of “anti-racism.”

Greenwald spoke on his Rumble show about H.R.61, the Leading Against White Supremacy Act of 2023 that has been proposed and sponsored by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas. The bill wrote that aside from being directly involved in a hate crime, one could be prosecuted for mere rhetoric, such as having, “published material advancing White supremacy, White supremacist ideology, antagonism based on ‘replacement theory’ or hate speech that vilifies or is otherwise directed against any nonwhite person or group.” 

The show host also read from the section explaining such dissemination of rhetoric could have been via a “social media platform or by other means of publication with the likelihood that it would be viewed by persons who are predisposed to engaging in any action in furtherance of a white supremacy inspired hate crime.”

Greenwald summarized how the potential law could prosecute people for essentially saying rhetoric Democrats don’t agree with.

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“In other words, if you go on to Twitter and you express a view that Sheila Jackson Lee or whoever is deciding, considers your view to be racist or white supremacist-even if somebody doesn’t hear you and then goes and commits a crime, even if that doesn’t happen, you are a conspirator in a hate crime,” he warned. “As long as it was reasonably likely that somebody who might commit a hate crime heard you or heard your view.”

Greenwald scoffed at the implications of such a law.

“Now, where wouldn’t that be true? It’s always the case that any ideology or any viewpoint that you express has the potential to be heard by somebody who could in the name of that ideology go and commit crimes.”

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Greenwald detailed how the law could bypass America’s First Amendment. 

“This is now using the force of law in order to criminalize speech,” Greenwald noted, before observing the bill “is a way to circumvent the First Amendment.”

He suggested the mindset of the politicians in favor of the bill would be, “’We now have the power to criminalize speech, because certain kinds of speech we’re going to make as a conspiracy and crime, and on top of that, we’re going to make it a racist law by only protecting certain segments of the population and not others in the name of anti-racism.’”

While he said the bill will likely not become a law , he suggested it represents the mainstream ideology of the Democratic Party. 

“I guarantee you it would be almost impossible to find a House Democrat willing to condemn it, let alone vote against it,” he said. 

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