Margaret Russell spoke to NPR Oregon about how federal prosecutors are using the felony charge of civil disorder against racial justice protestors in Portland, as well as many of those charged in the January 6, 2021 attack on the capitol.

Russell said the most powerful legal arguments against the civil disorder statute would be that infringes on the First Amendment. Though, she said, federal defenders may have another goal in mind when bringing up its racist origins.

“The decision on this may be in the court of public discourse,” Russell said. “If the federal defenders and others are pointing out the origins of this law, and the misuse of it, and the likely misuse of it here, then it calls attention to reasons to not use this particular statute to prosecute people.”