August 9, 2002


Extremists maintain Pa. presence (Anne Michaud, August 8, 2002, Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW)
Within the graceful, sun-scorched hills of north-central Pennsylvania farm country, the Aryan Nations World Congress waged a strongman competition.

Contestants hefted a stone in the shape of Africa and lugged it back and forth until their arms nearly burst. Painted on the stone in red is "Back to Africa," a statement of the group's position on African-Americans. A thin man in his 20s surprised everyone by surpassing the day's 22-lap record. He was dressed in the uniform of a racist skinhead: black T-shirt, combat boots, shaved head, sideburns.

Charles John Juba, 30, national director of Aryan Nations, joined in counting the laps in German: "funfundzwanzig, sechsundzwanzig"--twenty-five, twenty-six. Speaking German recollects Adolf Hitler's reign. Later that day, the second of a three-day jubilee held at the end of July in Ulysses, Potter County, the congregants--mostly tattooed, beer-drinking white men in their 20s--planned to light a cross and a swastika.

Juba--a man the Southern Poverty Law Center calls "frightening" and "dangerous--leads the eastern branch of Aryan Nations and plans to establish a new headquarters on a 10-acre farm in northern Pennsylvania.

The World Congress drew about 100 people from all corners of Pennsylvania late last month. It was the most recent hate rally held in the state and another reason why anti-hate groups keep a watchful eye on the Keystone State's extremist groups.

In one of the essays that got him in so much trouble at his confirmation hearings, "Neutral Principles and Some First Amendment Problems," Indiana Law Journal 47, 1 (Fall 1971), Robert Bork argued that (and forgive because there's no way I'll rememnber it precisely and can't find it online) that because the Constitution is a political document, meant to set forth the means by which we will be governed, that it is reasonable to view the First Amendment guarantee of Free Speech as not reaching pornography, which is not political, and as not covering speech that advocates overthrowing the government. As to this latter point, he suggests that it would be absurd to imagine that the foundational text for a democratic form of government would require that those who would use anti-democratic means to thwart its purposes be protected. I believe he says he's reconsidered this portion of the essay, but it strikes me as eminently sensible. It seems impossible that the Founders intended that we not be able to punish dangerous idiots like the ones in this story, who reject our basic form of government. Posted by Orrin Judd at August 9, 2002 7:58 AM
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