White supremacist and fervent Donald Trump supporter Richard Spencer has filed a motion to dismiss a federal case that seeks to hold him responsible for the violence he caused in Charlottesville, Virginia, last August, arguing that he can’t find a lawyer to represent him because his case is too “controversial.”
Spencer also claims that last summer’s violent, hate-inspired rally should be accepted as the “cost of free assembly and maintaining a vibrant political culture.”
The federal suit, brought on behalf of 10 Virginia residents injured in the protests, alleges that racist hate groups and extremists such as Spencer, James Fields and Chris Cantwell conspired to “plan, promote and carry out the violent events in Charlottesville” in violation of the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and other state and federal laws. The plaintiffs are a diverse group — black, Jewish and Hispanic — all of whom Richard Spencer would like expelled from this country one way or another.
It should come as no surprise that attorneys are reluctant to represent Spencer and his acolytes. Their views and conduct are antithetical to American values. Spencer has said he dreams of “an ethno state.” He calls Martin Luther King Jr. a “fraud and degenerate.” Matthew Heimbach, another defendant, says, “Of course we look up to men like Adolf Hitler.” Another calls gay people “sickening, demon-possessed monsters.”
As noted by The Hill, “hiding behind First and Second Amendment protection in order to skirt legal consequences for committing violence is unjustifiable. This case is not about free speech. Racists are free to spout their hateful views, but violence is neither legal nor protected. Carrying a gun and yelling racist epithets does not transform planned violence into protected conduct — it only makes that violence more loathsome. Right-wing radicals present a real, growing threat to our country.”
According to a recent report by the Anti-Defamation League, right-wing extremists were responsible for nearly 60 percent of extremist-related murders in the United States last year. In fact, 2017 was the fifth deadliest year on record for extremist violence since 1970.