Using an Anti-Klan Law Against Trump’s Clan

In States, Violence and Hate On
- Updated

On Tuesday the N.A.A.C.P., on behalf of Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, filed a federal lawsuit against Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani over their involvement with the Jan. 6 insurrection by a violent mob of Trump supporters at the United States Capitol.

The lawsuit alleges that by attempting to prevent the certification of the election, Trump and Giuliani violated the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act, one of several anti-Klan acts passed by Congress from 1870 to 1871.

The act reads as follows:

“If two or more persons in any state or territory conspire to prevent, by force, intimidation, or threat, any person from accepting or holding any office, trust, or place of confidence under the United States, or from discharging any duties thereof; or to induce by like means any officer of the United States to leave any state, district, or place, where his duties as an officer are required to be performed, or to injure him in his person or property on account of his lawful discharge of the duties of his office, or while engaged in the lawful discharge thereof, or to injure his property so as to molest, interrupt, hinder, or impede him in the discharge of his official duties … each and every person so offending shall be deemed guilty of a high crime.”

The statute is clearly appropriate for the suit, but what stood out to me was how similar this period is to the period when the law was adopted.

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