Congresswoman Nancy Mace (R, SC) has come out in opposition of the move to bar Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D, MN) from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
I think we have to be very careful about what we are as a constitutional republic. I am not a fan of Ilhan Omar. She’s an anti-Semite. She’s a bigot. She’s a racist. She’s a socialist. But that doesn’t mean that we cancel people in this country. Republicans don’t stand for cancel culture. And that’s essentially what this is.
I think it sets a very dangerous precedent. And you know, there’s so much anti-Semitism in this country. We should be condemning it right and left as we always have, but there’s also the First Amendment right to do that[.]
Mace is correct that we’re a constitutional republic with a First Amendment right for all Americans to speak their piece, whatever that piece might be.
Omar wouldn’t be barred from all House committees, any more than Congressmen Adam Schiff (D, CA) and Eric Swalwell (D, CA) are barred from all House committees. They’re barred only from the House Intelligence Committee; they’re free to serve on other House committees.
Omar would be barred only from the Foreign Affairs Committee and remain free to serve on other House committees. Omar’s rank bigotry makes her presence on Foreign Affairs counterproductive; her presence would give the lie to our nation’s international efforts to counter bigotry.
Our First Amendment free speech rights are limited in certain narrow circumstances. Military members cannot speak counter to military policy while in uniform or in other situations where they can be understood to be speaking for the military or for their branch or for their particular unit. They can be subject to discipline if they do. They can speak as freely as they wish on whatever subject they wish when they’re speaking as private citizens.
When Omar espoused her bigotry, she too often spoke as a Congresswoman, not as a private citizen. It would be entirely correct to bar her from Foreign Affairs; it would be cancel culture only were she barred from all House committees.