Your final exam will consist of a 2 page essay/op-ed on the Capital Riots that occurred on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 as the electoral votes were being tallied in Congress. Essay must be typed, double spaced, 1” margins, 12 pt font. Be sure to cite any information copied, borrowed, or paraphrased using parenthetical citation form with a works cited page.
Your essay should accomplish 2 main objectives:
Describe the events of that day leading up to and including the riots also including the results of riots and the most current information concerning the fallout from the siege of the Capital.
Your opinion of what happened on that fateful day. Below are some questions to consider as you are formulating how you will express your opinion?
Why were the rioters protesting? Who were they? What was their objective? Do you agree with their reasoning/perspective?
Who is responsible for the violence and death? Is President Trump responsible? Should he be punished? Should Republicans who supported overturning the election during the electoral votes be punished? Are they responsible? How should these participants be punished? Should they?
How do you assess the threat to American Democracy? Do you think that democracy is in trouble?
Compare the police presence in D.C. during the social justice protests of the spring and summer to the police presence on January 6th. Why do you think there was a difference? Was there a difference? Why?
Main focal point should be American Democracy and the Election of 2020
Final Exam Essay – Additional Information to Consider
18 U.S. Code § 2383 – Rebellion or insurrection
Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.
18 U.S. Code § 2384 – Seditious conspiracy
If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.
Domestic Terrorism (FBI.gov)
18 U.S. Code § 2331(5)
Activities that involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State; appearing to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; influence the policy of government by intimitdation or coercion; or affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnaoping; and occurring primarily within the territorial jurisciction of the United States.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Article II, Section IV U.S. Constitution
The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.
A 1969 Supreme Court ruling that tossed the conviction of a Ku Klux Klan leader may also shield President Donald Trump from prosecution for inciting last week’s Capitol riot, leaving few alternatives to hold him accountable if impeachment efforts fail.
At the rally preceding the riot, Trump gave an inflammatory speech, urging the crowd to go to the Capitol and demand legislators gathered to formally confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory address his baseless claims of voter fraud. Trump asked his supporters to “show strength” and “fight much harder.” Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump Jr. and U.S. Representative Mo Brooks also spoke ahead of the riot, which led to five deaths.
Several Democrats and some Republicans have raised the possibility that Trump might be prosecuted for inciting the riot, and Michael Sherwin, the acting U.S. attorney in Washington, fed such speculation when he suggested on Thursday that his office would probe the president’s role. But many legal experts are skeptical charges will be filed against Trump. “A prosecution is possible but unlikely,” said John Banzhaf, a law professor at George Washington University. “A conviction would be even less likely.”
‘Imminent Lawless Action’
That’s because the Supreme Court said in its landmark decision in Brandenburg v. Ohio that the constitutional right to free speech protects inflammatory rhetoric unless it’s intended to incite “imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” The ruling overturned the conviction of Clarence Brandenburg, an Ohio Klan leader who had been prosecuted under a state law for making a speech in which he advocated violence against African Americans and Jews.
The case, in which the American Civil Liberties Union represented Brandenburg, set a high bar for criminal prosecutions of inflammatory speech. To make the case that Trump incited the riot, prosecutors would have to show that he intended to provoke violence, but his words are vague enough that it’s possible to argue that he was simply urging his supporters to peacefully protest outside the Capitol.
Does Trump Face Legal Jeopardy for His Incendiary Speech Before the Riot?
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