MHRN Predicts More Violent Rhetoric
Rep. Rodney Garcia (R-Billings) made national and international headlines recently when he claimed the U.S. Constitution allows socialists to be jailed and shot. He made the remarks at the Montana Republican Party Winter Kickoff, where the keynote speaker was former Interior Secretary and Congressman Ryan Zinke. When Garcia made his disturbing comments, Zinke responded, “You know, Montana’s a great state.”
When a reporter asked for clarification, Garcia doubled down on the assertion, but he couldn’t identify where the Constitution contained such language. There’s a reason for that: The Constitution includes no such clause. In fact, it contains protections for people to ascribe to any political beliefs they want.
Anthony Johnstone, a law professor at the University of Montana, affirmed as much. He told The Washington Post that “nothing in the Constitution of the United States authorizes the government to punish socialists or anyone else on the basis of their political beliefs.” In fact, he said the First Amendment prohibits punishing political speech, and the Montana Constitution “expressly prohibits discrimination on the basis of political beliefs.”