Harmeet Dhillon is a force of natural justice. For those in the know, she’s become a free-speech legal superhero. The San Francisco-based civil rights lawyer won a major free speech victory over UC Berkeley; she represents James Damore in his ongoing fight against Google’s monolithic, social-justice corporate culture; and now, she’s making history by launching Publius Lex, a non-profit organization with a broad mandate: to fight in the courts for civil rights of Americans whose voices have been silenced by activists, big tech, and legacy media.
Dhillon agreed to sit down with The Post Millennial and she told me that it’s a lengthy process to establish a non-profit in the United States, and that Publius Lex was finally approved by U.S. tax authorities as a nonprofit entity earlier this year.
Publius Lex’s first case is the troubling story of Andy Ngo—a brave, young, talented journalist who writes for the Wall Street Journal, National Review, Quillette and others. Ngo was brutally beaten by Antifa thugs in the streets of Portland on June 29th for the simple fact that he was a journalist doing his job.
“[Ngo] is the victim of an organized criminal movement that is speech-suppressing, that is violent, that is enabled by the inaction of the government,” Dhillon said. “Portland and certain other liberal cities in the United States have ceded control of their streets to this violent, organized mob.”
On the topic of the cozy relationships between progressivist politicians, journalists and Antifa, Dhillon pulled no punches. “Many mainstream journalists echo the message of Antifa, are apologists for Antifa. Don Lemon praised Antifa. Chuck Todd has had Dartmouth Professor Mark Bray who wrote the Antifa Handbook on his show, and who justifies violence as an appropriate response to disagreeable ideologies. Antifa has been glamourized by prominent liberal politicians such as Keith Ellison, who posed with the Antifa Handbook. Ngo’s assault was preceded by many mainstream figures speaking with authority and legitimizing the approach taken by his attackers.”
Andy Ngo opened the world’s eyes to violence of Antifa, and Dhillon is intent on delivering the justice that he deserves. She summed up Antifa succinctly as the “stormtroopers of the left”: “There are some national Antifa leaders that we’ve been able to identify. They travel from city to city and they help to organize these planned riots. It’s amazing to me that the federal authorities haven’t cracked down on this. Antifa believes they have the civil right to commit a crime without being recorded by journalists. Bravo to Andy for standing up to them. But it’s going to take all of us to stand up to them.”
Of course, the mandate of Publius Lex goes beyond taking on Antifa. Dhillon told me that she hopes to one day rival the legacy civil rights nonprofits such as the SPLC and the ACLU which have been overrun with identity politics. It’s a much-needed corrective.
“The ACLU got woke and stopped protecting speech of all kinds. The model of Publius Lex is to identify deserving cases that would have a broader impact beyond the individual or entity affected, and finding outside lawyers who are passionate and willing to take on these cases. This is a non-partisan entity. We are not going to be choosing cases based on a person’s politics. We are going to ask: does this person have a civil rights issue that is not being addressed by the current legacy civil rights establishment, and will addressing this problem affect other people?” Dhillon said.
Dhillon participated in and spoke at the White House Digital Summit, an event that was slimed by the mainstream media for the simple fact that they were not invited to participate. “It was a huge honour for me,” she says of the moment the president gave her the podium after introducing her as one of the leading free speech attorneys in the U.S.
“It was a highly unusual gathering,” Dhillon said. “There were so many people that you would only know by their Twitter handles, and there were top lawmakers like Dan Crenshaw, Kevin McCarthy,Marsha Blackburn there. I felt energized and positive about it because, at a minimum, people who have been working on these issues and suffering censorship all over the country now know each other face to face. This will facilitate working together to find solutions to these problems. The goal being either negotiated solutions with industry legislation, regulation, rule interpretation. There’s a panoply of potential solutions that can occur. Everything is on the table. Many politicians and many independent commentators such as Tim Pool agree that the censorship we are seeing is dangerous for our country and our society.”
Dhillon told me that breaking up the monopolies is a start, but it won’t be the entire solution: “I think transparency at these companies is key. One thing that’s been suggested by the right and the left is that companies should be required to publish who they took down and why, so that data may be compared over time and among platforms. These companies have been caught stealing people’s data. They lie about what they do with your data—an issue that many on the left are concerned about as well. They misrepresent their censorship and data use activities even under oath before Congress. There’s no accountability for that because a lot of politicians are in the pockets of these big tech companies.”
The Orwellian problems Dhillon seeks to remedy may seem daunting, but there is an increasing number of independent voices that refuse to be silenced. With more and more people finding themselves alienated, disillusioned, or even cancelled by the current cultural context, there will be no shortage of worthy clients for the project. In an era where big tech, legacy media and global leaders are banding together to suppress freedom of speech and limit access to social media platforms for citizens who wish to participate in democracy, Dhillon’s Publius Lex is not only a worthy initiative, it’s a necessary one.