Domestic Terrorism: Overview of Federal Criminal Law and Constitutional Issues [July 2, 2021]   [open pdf - 2MB]

From the Summary: "Federal statute defines domestic terrorism to include dangerous criminal acts intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population or to influence or affect government policy or conduct within the jurisdiction of the United States. Despite the federal statutory definition, no federal criminal provision expressly prohibits 'domestic terrorism.' Nevertheless, numerous federal statutes offer prosecutors options in charging violent and destructive conduct consistent with the statutory definition of domestic terrorism. [...] As a number of proposals introduced in the 116th and 117th Congresses reflect, Congress remains interested in additional legislation addressing domestic terrorism, and any legislative action in this area would take place against the backdrop of a broader discussion of potential policy concerns and constitutional considerations. For instance, some observers dispute whether there is a gap in the existing federal domestic terrorism legal regime that leaves some violent or destructive conduct outside the scope of federal jurisdiction, and, if so, what new criminal provisions would be required. Additionally, certain constitutional constraints, such as First Amendment protections, Fourth Amendment restrictions on government searches, and broader federalism-based limitations on federal jurisdiction, may be relevant should Congress consider new domestic terrorism law."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R46829
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/
Media Type:
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