As Biden weighs domestic terrorism law, let's pause — and ask Merrick Garland

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The fight against domestic terrorism creates awful choices for a free society. The sacking of the U.S. Capitol by insurrectional rioters demonstrates beyond question that violent extremism is America’s reality now. Then President-elect Joe Biden wasted no time labeling them domestic terrorists.

Nonetheless, there’s also little doubt that targeting perceived ideological threats contributed to our nation’s most shameful episodes of civil rights abuse and governmental spying on citizens. The FBI wiretapped and recorded the private moments of Martin Luther King Jr. in a bid to humiliate him. And after 9/11, the government secretly collected phone “metadata” from virtually every American under the reactionary USA Patriot Act.

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