After a recent terrorist attack, a former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives declared that “we should frankly test every person here who is of a Muslim background, and if they believe in Sharia, they should be deported.” Although extreme, this declaration may not propose as radical an expansion of the law as an uninformed bystander might suppose. Commentators often complain that the antiterrorism laws already in force throughout the Anglophone world come “dangerously close” to punishing offender's for their thoughts. Are these complaints sound? And what is wrong with punishing thoughts, anyway? The paper offers answers to these surprisingly difficult questions.
Gabe Mendlow is an assistant professor of law and assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Michigan. He teaches and writes in the areas of criminal law, tort law, moral philosophy, and philosophy of law. Professor Mendlow served for several years as a special assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit, where he handled trial-level and appellate cases involving guns, drugs, fraud, theft, and counterfeiting. He previously served as a law clerk to Justice Richard N. Palmer of the Connecticut Supreme Court and as a postdoctoral associate in law and philosophy at Yale University. Professor Mendlow holds a JD from Yale Law School, a PhD in philosophy from Princeton University, and an AB in social studies from Harvard College. He is a member of the Connecticut Bar.