by David Ramsey
When Michael Cook of Talk Business pointed out to the state senator that the group had the right to peacefully assemble, Jason Rapert lashed back, "Only you would defend a fringe Muslim group wanting to march on 9/11." Of course Cook was doing nothing of the kind, he was simply defending their right to free speech under the First Amendment. Is Rapert's proposal to use government force to stop or arrest people? I asked, he hasn't responded.*
The organizers of the group in question indeed seem to be on the fringe — its leader has espoused repugnant anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Of course, the thing about the First Amendment is that its protections don't stop because Rapert or I might not like the speaker. That's a core American value.
Rapert, of course, has been clear that he won't let religious minorities or political minorities "run roughshod" over right-thinking folks. Apparently that includes disallowing their exercise of free speech.
*UPDATE: For the record, Rapert did respond on Twitter (though not to that question) and we had a long back and forth that probably isn’t worth recreating here. He doubled down on his argument that the “nation should not allow” the march but repeatedly stated that he only wished to have "the nation" (presumably the federal government) prevent the march on the day of 9/11. A holiday from the First Amendment, I suppose.