New Suit Filed in Virginia to Prevent Another “Charlottesville” Paramilitary Rally

Just Security readers may find of interest the lawsuit that my colleagues and I at Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, alongside local counsel, filed this morning in Charlottesville, Virginia, on behalf of the City, homeowners’ associations, and local businesses.  The suit, filed exactly two months after the violence sparked by the “Unite the Right” rally, invokes provisions of Virginia law crafted to prevent precisely the type of unaccountable paramilitary activity that these groups inflicted on Charlottesville on August 12 and threaten to inflict again.  Virginia’s Constitution demands that the military be subordinated to civil authorities; Virginia statutes forbid paramilitary activity and the false assumption of peacekeeping functions; and the law has long prohibited nuisances that endanger the health and welfare of the public, which private paramilitary activity—in contrast to genuine political speech—threatens to do.  Those laws as well as extensive factual research on the events of August 12 provide the basis for the complaint, which can be found here.


Photo:Men wearing body armor, combat weapons and patches that read “New York Militia,” Charlottesville, Virginia, August 12, 2017 – Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images 

About the Author(s)

Joshua Geltzer

Executive Editor. Founding Executive Director of the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection and Visiting Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center. Former Senior Director for Counterterrorism at the National Security Council, former Deputy Legal Advisor to the National Security Council, and former Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the Department of Justice. Follow him on Twitter (@jgeltzer).