‘MTSU On the Record’ looks into legal complication...

‘MTSU On the Record’ looks into legal complications of ‘domestic terrorism’

A new “MTSU On the Record” radio program examines the complicated relationship between law enforcement and the First Amendment with a nationally recognized expert on constitutional law.

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. John Vile, dean of the University Honors College and a scholar of the U.S. Constitution and its implementation, first aired Nov. 19 on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and online at You can hear their conversation above.

Dr. John Vile

Dr. John Vile

Brian O’Hare, president of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Agents Association, is calling for a federal “domestic terrorism” law so that the cases of terrorists with foreign connections won’t be left for prosecution under general state murder statutes.

Others call for making it a crime to provide monetary support to domestic organizations that advocate ideologies that could be construed as promoting violence, although David Cole, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, says the U.S. Supreme Court probably would rule that a violation of the First Amendment.

Vile said he’s given up trying to predict how the Supreme Court will rule, but he noted that not everyone who gives money to a group has the same intention or same amount of knowledge of the organization’s efforts.

He cited the Black Panthers of the 1960s as an example, referring to its community service projects and civil rights work that often were eclipsed by violent activities.

“It’s quite possible that somebody could have given them money because they heard they were supplying breakfast for schoolchildren or children during the summer,” Vile said, “so the (donor’s) intention probably would not have been to further violence.”

WMOT Roots Radio-new logo-2017 web Vile is a prolific author of works on America’s founding documents and the people who created them.

The political science professor’s books on constitutional law include “The United States Constitution: Questions and Answers,” “The Writing and Ratification of the U.S. Constitution: Practical Virtue in Action” and the two-volume “Encyclopedia of Constitutional Amendments, Proposed Amendments, and Amending Issues, 1789–2015.” The 2015 book he edited, “The Wisest Council in the World: Restoring the Character Sketches by William Pierce of Georgia of the Delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787,” presented observations of the Founding Fathers by a fellow delegate.

You can read the full text of the U.S. Constitution here at the website. The text of the Bill of Rights and other constitutional amendments also is available at the same site.

To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at

For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.