Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) is demanding a "federal review" of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, claiming Friday the acquittal of the 18-year-old amounted to a "miscarriage of justice."
What are the details?
Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, called on the Department of Justice to intervene over the "heartbreaking verdict."
Unfortunately, Nadler also repeated the media's misleading narrative about Rittenhouse being armed and having crossed state lines.
Although interstate travel is completely legal, Rittenhouse did not cross from Illinois to Wisconsin while armed. In fact, Rittenhouse's dad lives in Kenosha, and the AR-15 rifle that Rittenhouse was armed with never left Wisconsin. And, at any rate, Rittenhouse lives in Antioch, a town on the Illinois-Wisconsin border just 20 minutes south of Kenosha.
"This heartbreaking verdict is a miscarriage of justice and sets a dangerous precedent which justifies federal review by DOJ," Nadler said. "Justice cannot tolerate armed persons crossing state lines looking for trouble while people engage in First Amendment-protected protest."
This heartbreaking verdict is a miscarriage of justice and sets a dangerous precedent which justifies federal review by DOJ. Justice cannot tolerate armed persons crossing state lines looking for trouble while people engage in First Amendment-protected protest.https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/1461766011590426632\u00a0\u2026— Rep. Nadler (@Rep. Nadler) 1637349408
Interestingly, Nadler said nothing of Rittenhouse's Second Amendment rights while invoking the First Amendment rights of protesters who rioted in Kenosha last summer.
The irony, of course, is that destroying a town with violent riots is not a legally protected form of First Amendment expression. Meanwhile, the jury in the Rittenhouse trial determined that Rittenhouse legally exercised his right to self-defense.
What could the DOJ do?
It is not clear what the Justice Department could review, if anything.
In fact, the jury considered five criminal charges against Rittenhouse — intentional homicide, reckless homicide, attempted intentional homicide, and two counts of reckless endangerment — and none of them were federal charges.
Rittenhouse was not accused of a hate crime and because he is not a member of law enforcement, he cannot be charged with depriving anyone of their civil rights as a federal agent. Rittenhouse was also not accused of a robbery on federal property or involving a federal business.
The Justice Department's own website explains it cannot intervene in matters of state law.
"The Department of Justice has no authority to intervene in matters of state law. The Department of Justice can assume jurisdiction only when there has been a violation of federal law," the DOJ website states.
Therefore, any federal intervention at this stage of the Rittenhouse story — after his acquittal and the charges against him being tossed with prejudice, meaning they can never be brought against him again — would appear to be a politically motivated decision, not one solely interested in maintaining equal justice for all Americans.