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Are Private Militias Constitutional?

proud boys
Andrew Selsky
A protester in Oregon carries a Proud Boys banner, a symbol of a right-wing group, in front of the Oregon State Capitol in Salem, Ore., on Sept. 7, 2020.

More than a dozen men face federal charges they plotted to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and overthrow the government. Federal authorities say that group did some of its planning in Ohio, where extremist groups have been active since at least 1994.

Since the pandemic, we have seen heavily armed protests at Michigan's State Capitol and the Ohio Statehouse. In addition to the threats against Whitmer, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio's former Health Director Amy Acton also faced threats.

Private militias may point to the Second Amendment when protesting their government, but former Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the Department of Justice Mary McCord says they are not constitutionally protected. As McCord writes in The New York Times, these armed groups have no authority to call themselves forth into militia service.

Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss the danger these groups may pose is Georgetown University Law School Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection Visiting Professor of Law and Legal Director Mary McCord.

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Michael Monks brings a broad range of experience to WVXU-FM as the host of Cincinnati Edition, Cincinnati Public Radio's weekday news and information talk show.