- Writer for the left-wing magazine "The Nation"
- Characterizes conservatives as "stupid" and "racist"
- Advocates the use of race-based jury nullification by black jurors
- Views America as a nation infested with white racism
- Describes the U.S. Constitution as "trash"
- Favors packing the U.S. Supreme Court with Democrat leftists
- Strong supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement
Elie Mystal Jr. was born in Haiti on May 10, 1978. His father, Elie Mystal Sr., was a local politician and Democrat operative in Long Island, New York, who in 2010 was sentenced to five years’ probation for having falsely claimed to reside within the Suffolk County district which he had represented from 2004-08. Elie Mystal Jr.’s grandfather was a Chinese native who married a black schoolteacher in Mississippi.
Mystal Jr. moved to Indiana for his final year of high school following his parents’ separation in the 1990s. He subsequently earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Government from Harvard University in 2000, and then graduated from Harvard Law School in 2003. Mystal also wrote about politics and popular culture for City Hall News and the New York Press (an alternative weekly which was published from 1988 to 2011).
After working as an Associate for the New York-based international law firm of Debevoise and Plimpton, Mystal quit the legal profession in 2008 to become an editor and writer/blogger for the left-wing website Above the Law, where he wrote on topics related to politics, culture, and the law. Above the Law once described Mystal, who continues to produce podcasts for the site, as an “online provocateur.”
Today Mystal is a writer for the left-wing magazine The Nation, a job he has held since December 2018. His editorials have also been published in the New York Daily News and The New York Times, and he has given numerous television interviews in forums as politically divergent as MSNBC and Fox News.
Mystal’s wife, Christine Nyereyegona, is a lawyer in the financial services industry. The couple has two children.
Contempt for Justice Clarence Thomas & His Wife
In January 2011, Mystal authored a piece for Above the Law in which he stated that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas should recuse himself from certain cases because of his wife’s involvement with the conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation. “Is there the appearance of impropriety if Virginia Thomas [the wife] is raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars working for conservative causes while her husband holds inscrutable power over the final disposition of some of these issues?” wrote Mystal. “Sure. Does every new fact we learn about Virginia Thomas make it all the more ridiculous that the only person who can determine whether or not Justice Thomas should recuse himself in some cases is Clarence Thomas? Absolutely.”
On May 6, 2013, Mystal attacked Justice Thomas in a particularly crude and angry manner. Some excerpts:
- “What’s really happening is that Thomas continues to think that people hate him because he’s a black conservative, when really people hate him because he’s a black a**hole…”
- “Most black Republicans I know are just like most white Republicans I know: dudes who care more about themselves and their God than about anybody else…. Thomas is very concerned with racism that happens to him, he just doesn’t really give a crap about it if it happens to anybody else.”
- “Thomas is a guy who wantsto believe that race has ruined his legacy. He wants to believe that he’s not loved because of the media and so-called ‘elites.’ He’s getting old now, and he’s probably starting to realize his obituary will start with something like, ‘Controversial BLACK Supreme Court justice died today. He’s best remembered for the sexual harassment allegations that plagued his confirmation hearings.’ Faced with that likely reality, he’s doing what he always does, which is to blame his race.”
Applauding Law Students Who Protested Republican Commencement Speaker Whjo Opposed Same-Sex Marriage
On May 10, 2011, Mystal applauded the 100+ graduating students at the University of Michigan Law School who had walked out of their commencement ceremony to protest Republican Senator and Michigan Law alumnus Rob Portman, due to his opposition to same-sex marriage. Though the country was almost evenly split on the issue, Mystal wrote that those student protesters “should feel proud” of what they had done during the Senator’s speech, and he suggested that the university ought to find a “less divisive speaker” to address its graduates at the next commencement. “It should not be difficult for Michigan to find somebody who is against denying a significant portion of the Michigan Law community basic civil rights,” said Mystal.
Claiming a Correlation Between the Second Amendment & Racism
In a November 2013 column titled “Is The Second Amendment Racist?,” Mystal stated that “it’s clear that widespread gun ownership helped white plantation owners keep control of their slaves”; that “the right to bear arms was certainly useful when it came time to ‘settle’ additional territory away from the people who were already living there”; and that “[g]un rights, who has them, and who does not, are inextricably tied to our history of racial oppression.” Referencing a study by Australian researchers who had found that, as Mystal put it, “if you own a gun, you might be a little bit racist,” Mystal quoted the study’s conclusion that “for each 1 point increase in symbolic racism” — defined as “a belief structure underpinned by both anti-black affect and traditional values” – “there was a 50% increase in the odds of having a gun at home” as well as “a 28% increase in support for permits to carry concealed handguns.”
Mystal then elaborated:
“It’s unsurprising, but still interesting, that having a gun in your home is highly correlative with thinking that black people don’t share your values and are violent. People don’t buy guns to protect themselves from their neighbors and friends, they buy guns to protect themselves from somebody else.
“And while we’re here, let’s not forget that racists are often quite stupid, and stupid people are the ones most resistant to facts about how gun ownership leads to homicide instead of preventing it. Stupid racists are least likely to understand (or care) how ‘stand your ground’ laws are simply a way for whites to justify the killing of black people. Most of the best arguments in favor of gun control are lost on the very kinds of racist people who own guns.
“The [Australian] study focused on white gun ownership, but I’d bet that if you looked at black gun ownership, you’d find a similar pattern: the more racist black people are (whether it’s racism towards white people, other races, or even black-on-black racism), the more likely they are to own a gun.
“This isn’t a problem they have in Scandinavia. I mean, I’m sure that Scandinavians are just as racist as anybody else, but… there aren’t a lot of brothers [black men] in Denmark.… America pays a heavy price for her gun laws. But maybe those gun laws are the price we pay for living in a multicultural society?
“Liberals like to argue that the Second Amendment is like a vestigial tail, an anachronistic text written before people could conceive of readily available automatic weapons, or what squadron F-35s could do to a ‘citizen’s militia’ well-armed with those weapons. But maybe the Second Amendment has ‘evolved’ to incorporate all of the prejudice and oppression that used to feature much more prominently in our Constitution. Maybe the Second Amendment is the new hood the racist can use to shield his identity.”
Arguing in Favor of Jury Nullification
On December 7, 2016, Mystal published a piece titled “Here’s How Black People Could Use Jury Nullification To Break The Justice System,” arguing in favor of jury nullification – i.e., a jury’s refusal to follow the law and convict even an obviously guilty defendant – as a means of undermining America’s allegedly racist criminal-justice system. Some excerpts:
- “African-Americans live in a world where the police can murder us and get away with it…. There is no justice for black people. And yet violently revolting against the system will get us nowhere.”
- “Maybe it’s time for black people to use the same tool white people have been using to defy a system they do not consent to: jury nullification. White juries regularly refuse to convict or indict cops for murder. White juries refuse to convict vigilantes who murder black children. White juries refuse to convict other white people for property crimes. White juries act like the law is just a guideline and their personal morality (or lack thereof) should be controlling. Maybe it’s time minorities got in the game?”
- “Black people lucky enough to get on a jury could use that power to acquit any person charged with a crime against white men and white male institutions. It’s not about the race of the defendant, but if the alleged victim is a white guy, or his bank, or his position, or his authority: we could acquit. Assault? Acquit. Burglary? Acquit. Insider trading? Acquit.”
- “Murder? … what the hell do you think is happening to black people out here? What the hell do you think we’re complaining about when your cops shoot us or choke us? Acquit. Don’t throw ‘murder’ at me like it’s some kind of moral fault line where the risk of letting one go is too great. Black people ARE BEING MURDERED, and the system isn’t doing a damn thing to hold their killers accountable. Sorry I’m not sorry if this protest idea would put the shoe on the other foot for a change.”
- “Minorities are victims of police brutality in this country, and there aren’t enough white citizens willing to do a damn thing. I no longer see why minorities should be expected to help white victims achieve the justice they so regularly deny people of color.”
- “Honestly, what the hell do you expect us to do? How do white people think we’re supposed to react when we watch cops murder us and get away with it, over and over and over again? We’re just supposed to take it? Wait for America to produce nicer white people? The options for black America in the face of this state-sponsored injustice seem pretty limited. Jury nullification at least has the benefit of being non-violent. Understand, when cops — when the armed forces of the state — can shoot me for no reason and get away with it, I am no longer living in a civil society. I’m living in the state of nature, and I have a natural right to defend myself by any means necessary. But I’m not here advocating a violent response to systematic injustice (because we’d lose). Violence has a tendency to be indiscriminate, anyway. Instead, jury nullification is more of a surgical strike on an illegitimate justice system that has failed us. And it can be accomplished without the protection of the Second Amendment (which is denied to black people anyway).”
- “There are a lot of protest ideas floating around. But jury nullification would get white people’s attention. Remember how pissed-off white people were about O.J.? And that was just one dude. White people would notice if black jurors simply refused to play along.”
- “We can bitch and we can march and we can refuse to stay in Trump hotels. But until the system stops giving white people something they want — the orderly procession of justice — then they will not be motivated to change the system. I WANT CHAOS IN THE PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE. And you can’t accomplish that with a bomb or a gun. But you can with an acquittal. Lots of acquittals. All the acquittals. There are counties in this country where the justice system would grind to a halt if prosecutors couldn’t find black and brown people willing to convict or indict.… The stench of it will choke the system until it is willing to change.”
- “Imagine if black people weren’t willing to indict a citizen for punching a white guy in the mouth? White people would lose their s**t, that’s what would happen.… It’s time for us to push back. Civil disobedience, when used in a targeted fashion, is a powerful force.”
“America Is Entirely Too Racist to Arm Teachers” in the Classroom
In a February 2018 opinion piece, Mystal wrote that “President Donald Trump’s idea to arm teachers in public schools” was “dangerous,” “expensive,” and would “not actually … deter mass shooters” if implemented. Added Mystal:
“But there’s one more problem that I’m sure most white people haven’t thought about yet: arming American teachers will directly result in students of color being shot to death at school. I know that because the only other group of public employees that is armed at the behest of the state shoots unarmed people of color on the reg. The cops actually receive extensive training on how to use their firearms, how to assess threats, and how to deescalate situations, and yet they still murder innocent civilians all the time.
“Giving a teacher a gun is ASKING them to be afraid. It makes poor judgment a homicidal offense. And that danger will be borne by black and brown students. The students who make teachers ‘afraid’ just by their very existence. We’ll be telling teachers to shoot armed terrorists breaching the school. What’s really going to happen is an unarmed black truant loitering in a hallway he’s not supposed to be in who gets shot eight times by the jumpy choir director. Oh, she’ll feel just awful about her mistake. But a jury of her peers will never convict her of a crime. […]
“America is entirely too racist to arm teachers. Our legal system is INCAPABLE of holding public employees to account for murdering minorities. Black and brown students should not have to die because disgruntled white boys are shooting up their schools.”
Mystal Joins The Nation
Mystal’s columns drifted even further to the left during the Donald Trump presidency of 2017-2021. In December 2018 Mystal began working as a Justice Correspondent and columnist for The Nation, writing on a wide range of political subjects.
Portraying America As a Racist Nation That Oppresses and Terrorizes Black People
In January 2019, Mystal wrote: “I’m a 40-year-old black man. I cannot even conceive of what it must be like to walk around this country with the confidence of a white male teenager.”
Advocating Aggressive Protests Outside the Home of a Prominent Trump Supporter
During an August 8, 2019 appearance on MSNBC’s All In, Mystal openly called for aggressive protests to be held outside of the home of Stephen Ross, the owner of SoulCycle and the Miami Dolphins, to punish Ross for having held a fundraiser on behalf of President Donald Trump. “People of color are already targets under this administration,” said Mystal. “I have no problem with shining the light back on the donors who fund this kind of racialized hate. I mean, I go further. I want pitchforks and torches outside this man’s house in the Hamptons.” “I’ve been to the Hamptons, it’s very nice,” Mystal continued. “There’s no reason it has to be. There’s no reason he should be able to have a nice little party. There’s no reason why people shouldn’t be able to be outside of his house and making their voices peacefully understood.”
Urging the Politicization of Thanksgiving Dinner in Order to Fight the “Retrograde Conservatism” of Racist & Misogynist Family Members
In November 2019, Mystal wrote an opinion piece urging his fellow leftists to use the occasion of a Thanksgiving family dinner to lecture and embarrass their conservative relatives. Some key excerpts:
“Every holiday season, there is a flood of articles, features, and puff pieces telling you how to have a ‘safe’ holiday dinner with your family. You know, one that avoids hot-button political disagreements like, ‘So are we going to impeach the criminal president or nah?’ […]
“How weak. How pathetic. We stand on the precipice of losing our American character to the forces of authoritarianism and bigotry. For many people, this holiday season will be the last face-to-face encounter with family members before the most consequential election of our lifetimes. And yet, many people are desperate to pass the potatoes without starting any uncomfortable conversations.
“The holidays are when your resistance is needed. Some of you have the opportunity to talk to Trump voters and assorted conservatives this weekend. Some of you will have the opportunity to talk to people who live in an echo chamber of Fox News commentary and Russian troll farms. To waste that opportunity because of your own hang-ups and Mommy or Daddy issues is criminal.
“You might not like conflict, but if you choose to break bread with Trump supporters and climate change deniers because you happen to be related to them, then conflict is required. Anything less is appeasement, and we’ve had far too much of that these past few years. So stiffen your spine, rehearse your talking points, and get ready to fry some turkeys in your family with your righteousness.
“Other people will tell you how to avoid fights. I’m going to tell you how to get into them. […] Do not let falsehoods lie unchallenged. If you hear something that is clearly false, say, ‘That’s not true.’ […] Battling misinformation is critical work. […]
“Trump supporters do not like to be called ‘racist.’ They have no problem actually being racist or supporting the policies of racism and white supremacy, but they dislike being called what they are. And, generally speaking, family members of racists dislike calling their family members racist. They’d rather make excuses for racist thoughts and actions to shield themselves from the reality that they were raised by people who are racist. […]
“This coddling of bigots and sexists is unhelpful. It doesn’t make them more amenable or open to changing their minds. It just makes them think that their views, as offensive and retrograde as they might be, are still within the bounds of polite society and acceptable small talk. People will make disparaging remarks about disadvantaged groups when nobody from that group is in the room because they think it’s safe to talk ‘honestly.’
“Do not let them feel safe. Do not let them feel comfortable. Do not let them feel like their biases are simply honest talk. […] Call out bigotry. Call out sexism. Let these people see that it’s not just black pundits or righteous feminists on television who can call bigotry and misogyny by their names. Your family is not going to read James Baldwin, so you have to do what you can in his stead. […]
“Take a traditional Thanksgiving Day football game. This may seem like safe, nonpolitical ground—so long as everybody agrees to not talk about Colin Kaepernick. But it won’t take long for Trump supporters in your family to say something racist, sexist, or plain nutty while watching the game. They’ll say a white athlete is just a ‘hard worker’ while praising a black athlete’s ‘natural gifts.’ They’ll champion a slur against Native Americans, masquerading as a nickname, on a holiday that commemorates the prelude to a continental genocide. They’ll make fun of the ‘egghead statisticians,’ which will sound like they’re making a comment on football strategy, but actually they’re making an attack on science and math that will later fuel their climate change denier sensibilities. Or maybe they’ll just sit like lumps on the couch while women: prepare dinner, set the table, take care of the kids, clean up after dinner, serve dessert, and fetch them a beer.
“In those moments, I think of the children. I think of the behavior that is being modeled for them. I think of the cultural messages they are learning as they’re being exposed to these ‘traditional’ structures. Maybe it is too late for your Trump-supporting father to learn to be a better person, but it’s not too late for your children. They need to be told that Granddad is wrong, even if Granddad himself can’t figure it out.
“Fight against these average, everyday examples of retrograde conservatism and let your kids see you fighting.”
Mystal Leaves Above the Law, Professing His Own Unwavering Commitment to “The Truth”
“I can’t leave this amazing publication entirely. I’ll still be doing my podcast here…. But, I will be leaving the day-to-day safety of Above the Law because, well, Brett Kavanaugh [President Trump’s nominee for Supreme Court Justice] broke me. Sitting here and watching an alleged attempted rapist get installed on the Supreme Court — with the shocking support of most of the elite legal institutions, at least initially — while most of the mainstream media missed all the other ways that man is unfit to judge even the Rose Bowl parade, did something to my brain. I was in on the sordid dishonesty of Kavanaugh from the day he was announced as Anthony Kennedy’s replacement. I understood that, like Trump, Kavanaugh is not a cause so much as he is a symptom: in this case a symptom of the Federalist Society’s wholesale reduction of judicial credentials to ‘Republicans win always.’”
In the same piece, Mystal boasted of his own personal commitment to “the truth,” which he described as “goddamned intoxicating, once you get a taste for it.” “[O]ne of the things I’ve learned about myself while working for Above the Law is that my ability to self-censor was stunted when I was ten or eleven or something,” he added. “I have just enough restraint to refrain from talking about poop in church. Beyond that, I have all of the inhibitions of a drunk uncle at Thanksgiving.”
Accusing White People of Supporting Racist Police Officers
“The police are never going to voluntarily stop killing black and brown people. The killings will continue until the majority of white people in this country make the killings stop.
“The police work for white people, and they know it. White people know it too. Deep down, white people know exactly whom the police are supposed to protect and serve, and they damn well know it’s not black and brown people. …
“It doesn’t have to be this way. It is entirely within the scope of white power in America to rein in its police. White people could elect mayors and prosecutors who are committed to police reform. White judges and juries could hold the police accountable for their crimes. White Republicans could challenge and eventually break the power of police unions just as easily as they break teachers’ unions or any labor union that stands in the way of rapacious capitalism. If a majority of white people decided, today, that racist policing should end, we’d start seeing changes to police forces by the middle of next week.
“But white people do not stop their cops. A majority of them clearly want the cops to behave this way. They want the viciousness. They want the horror. …
“White people … see the racial bias in policing, and they know that bias benefits them. […] They know that having racist police officers around gives them incredible power, and power makes people feel good, even if they never use it….
“Black people have tried, again and again, to end the horror of police brutality against us. We march, we protest, we educate, we vote. We teach our children a special set of rules. We produce art and literature and music documenting our pain. We start organizations and movements. And yet we can’t achieve structural change in policing because a majority of white America always sets its will against us. White people in our own communities, our alleged friends and neighbors, consistently vote and act in ways that empower the police and ignore their brutality against us.
“White people could put their police dogs on a leash. But they won’t. And more black and brown people will get mauled and killed until white people decide to do better.”
Seeking to Circumvent Abortion-Restriction Laws in Texas, and Advocating the Repeal of the Hyde Amendment
On September 3, 2021 – shortly after the enactment of the so-called Texas Heartbeat Law banning abortion procedures after the point at which a fetal heartbeat could be detected — Mystal appeared on CNN’s New Day and called for the creation of a federal force tasked with enacting a “workaround” to circumvent the Texas law. Among his remarks were the following:
“Now, as many people have figured out, Texas’ law is quirky, and the quirk is its kind of depraved bounty system which takes the enforcement power of their abortion ban away from the state, so, like, [Texas Governor] Greg Abbott or [Texas Attorney General] Ken Paxton or whoever isn’t out there enforcing the law, and puts it in the hands of private citizens. Anybody living in the country can sue anybody in Texas for providing or aiding or abetting abortion services, and if they win that lawsuit, they get $10,000. That is a private civil action.
“That’s the only enforcement mechanism for the Texas law. Well, that can cut both ways. And if Democrats are willing to get creative about it, and if Joe Biden is willing to do everything necessary to protect women in Texas, well, guess who has qualified immunity from civil lawsuits? Federal employees. So what Biden needs to do is, via executive order, create a federal force of doctors protected, clothed in the protection of the state, which would protect them through qualified immunity from private civil actions. Send them to Texas to counsel and protect women’s privacy rights, and if they want to provide some medical procedures in the course of protecting people’s constitutional rights, they can do that as well.
“The Hyde Amendment says … the government cannot use money to pay for abortions. So … Congress could just not reauthorize that. That’s a thing. The Hyde Amendment is reviled, at least on the left side of the aisle. But even if Congress reauthorizes the Hyde Amendment, the workaround for that is that you have to make the abortions free. Abortions, I could argue, should already be free. They’re extremely expensive, and that hurts poor women — preventing them from accessing their rights. So, you could make abortions free, and you could privately fund the doctors. That’s a trick I learned from watching Republicans.”
Opposing Abortion Restrictions in Mississippi
In a December 1, 2021 appearance on MSNBC’s The ReidOut,” hosted by Joy Reid, Mystal reacted to the Supreme Court’s oral arguments vis-à-vis a Mississippi law that banned abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Said Mystal:
“Conservatives want you to think that a fetus – a fetus who is pre-viability, which means it cannot exist outside of its mother, it cannot live outside of, of the womb, has the same – should have the same legal rights as full-grown black people in this country. And that the fact that it doesn’t is some kind of miscarriage of justice – no pun intended – and that the people who shouldn’t have the full rights are the women who are carrying the fetus.
“Now, I can prove that a fetus is not deserving of full personhood rights because if it were, they would be arguing that the fetus should be given citizenship. They would be arguing that the fetus should have other rights like a right to education, a right to health care. They would be arguing that I should be able to claim fetuses as dependents on my taxes, which you’ll note, they’re not. They’re only concerned about the right of a fetus when that right can be used to diminish the rights of women. And that is what the conservatives are all about on the Supreme Court.”
Mystal’s 2022 Book Deprecating the Constitution
On March 1, 2022, Mystal released a New York Times bestseller titled Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution. As noted by conservative columnist Daniel Greenfield of FrontPage Magazine, this book subscribes to the same conclusions made by Critical Race Theory adherents like Ibram X. Kendi, Louis Farrakhan, and The 1619 Project creator Nikole Hannah-Jones: that “all of American history…[is] defined by a vast and endless conspiracy against black people.” As the promotional blurb for Mystal’s book stated:
“MSNBC legal commentator Elie Mystal thinks that Republicans are wrong about the law almost all of the time. Now, instead of talking about this on cable news, Mystal explains why in his first book. […]
“Allow Me to Retort is an easily digestible argument about what rights we have, what rights Republicans are trying to take away, and how to stop them. Mystal explains how to protect the rights of women and people of color instead of cowering to the absolutism of gun owners and bigots…. He strips out all of the fancy jargon conservatives like to hide behind and lays bare the truth of their project to keep America forever tethered to its slaveholding past.
“Mystal brings his trademark humor, expertise, and rhetorical flair to … arm readers with the knowledge to defend themselves against conservatives who want everybody to live under the yoke of eighteenth-century white men…. You don’t need to be a legal scholar to understand your own rights. You don’t need to accept the ‘whites only’ theory of equality pushed by conservative judges. You can read this book to understand that the Constitution is trash, but doesn’t have to be.”
In the first lines of the introduction to his book, Mystal writes: ‘Our Constitution is not good. It is a document designed to create a society of enduring white male dominancy, hastily edited in the margins to allow for what basic political rights white men could be convinced to share.’” Several times in his book, he writes that the Constitution is a “violent piece of shit.”
In his book as well, Mystal writes that “I’d be in favor of” “throwing out the Constitution and starting over with a document written by an inclusive body that represents the interests of people of color and women.”
Mystal also attacks liberals who have some respect for the Constitution:
- “[You] rarely see liberals make the point that the Constitution is actually trash. Conservatives are out here acting like the Constitution was etched by divine flame upon stone tablets, when in reality it was scrawled out over a sweaty summer by people making deals with actual monsters who were trying to protect their rights to rape the humans they held in bondage. Why would I give a fuck about the original public meaning of the words written by those men?”
- “Redeeming our failed Constitution from its bigoted and sexist sins does not require new amendments. It does not require a few new ornaments upon its crooked boughs. It requires the emerging majority in this country to reject the conservative interpretation of what the Constitution says and adopt a morally defensible view of what our country means. I’m here to tell you that the Constitution is trash. Conservatives are the ones who say it always has to be.”
Viewing police violence against blacks as a symptom of American society’s widespread white racism, Mystal writes in his book: “I don’t hold a personal enmity towards the police, any more than I’d hold a personal grudge against a pack of dogs sent to recapture me after I escaped from bondage. My issue is with their owner. My issue is with white people who refuse to keep their goddamn cops on a leash. There are no good cops or bad cops. There are just shitty white people.”
Also in his book, Mystal contends that “for Black people,” the Sixth Amendment – which guarantees the rights of criminal defendants, including the right to legal representation by an attorney and a speedy public trial by an impartial jury – “is a cruel joke.” “The point of a trial by jury, if there is one,” he expands, “is to be judged by a community of your peers. But Black people are and have always been brought up on charges by a white prosecutor, in front of a white judge, to have their guilt or innocence judged by an all-white or predominantly white jury. That’s not ‘impartial’ justice; it’s white justice imposed on Black bodies by a system that treats white people and their experiences as the default.”
“It was written by slavers and colonists and white people who were willing to make deals with slavers and colonists. They didn’t ask anybody that looked like me what they thought about the Constitution…. This document was written without the consent of black and brown people in this country, and without the consent of women. And I say that if that is the starting point, the very least we can do is ignore what those slavers and colonists and misogynists thought and interpret the Constitution in a way that makes sense for our modern world…. I could rewrite parts of it in a tweet. Like how about, popular election for the president; people vote, not land…. Term limits for Supreme Court Justices, and how about no states’ rights when it comes to health care, elections, policing, and guns? It’s just better. That’s just better, and you can do that in a tweet.”
Later in March 2022, Mystal gave an interview to the leftwing website Salon, in which he said:
- “The veneration that this country has for the Constitution is simply weird. It’s crazy. It’s not what other countries do for their written documents. We act like this thing was etched in stone by the finger of God, when actually it was hotly contested and debated, scrawled out over a couple of weeks in the summer in Philadelphia in 1787, with a bunch of rich, white politicians making deals with each other, right? These politicians were white slavers, white colonizers and white abolitionists — who were nonetheless willing to make deals with slavers and colonists. No person of color was allowed into the convention. Their thoughts were not included. No women were allowed to have a voice or a vote in the drafting of the Constitution. And quite frankly, not even poor white people were allowed to have a voice or a thought in what the Constitution was.”
- “It is the conservatives who say the Constitution is ossified in the original public meaning and intent of the slavers who wrote it. It is people like me who are like, ‘No, no, no, the document lives and breathes and evolves.’ So these idiot white people are literally trying to attack my position by restating my position, because they don’t know any better, because they haven’t actually read it or thought about it or understand it.”
Also in his interview with Salon magazine, Mystal rejected the validity of the Electoral College, a constitutional compromise intended to ensure that the lower-population states would not be overwhelmed by the higher-population states in the process of electing the nation’s president. “Structurally there are a lot of stupid things in the document,” he said. “There are a lot of things that you just wouldn’t think we should do if you were starting again from first principles. Like the idea that we don’t elect our own president [with a simple majority of the popular vote]; that’s pretty dumb.”
In his interview with Salon as well, Mystal rejected the idea of federalism – i.e., the notion that political power should be shared by the states and the national government – and instead voiced a preference for a unitary system in which the majority would dictate to the minority. “The way that voting rights have been couched as ‘We will not abridge the right to vote,’ as opposed to ‘You have a positive right to vote,’ that’s dumb,” he said. “The federal system has 50 different election systems instead of one federal system, that makes us have literally 3,000 police systems — that’s 3,000 sheriff’s offices around the country, instead of one national police system. That’s pretty stupid. If you just go structurally through the document [the Constitution], you see — it’s not exactly bad-idea genes, but you see quite a lot of bad ideas throughout the document.”
Mystal again derided the Constitution during a March 25, 2022 interview on the We’ve Got Issues podcast hosted by Joshua Holland. Among Mystal’s remarks were the following:
- “I’ve honestly been a little surprised that that statement has been so controversial. Let’s just talk as adults for a second. We are talking about a document that was written by slavers just straight up. The largest slave owner at the time of the Revolution was George Washington. So not your average everyday neighborhood slavers. We are talking about the captains of the slaving industry, you are talking about colonists, and you are talking about some rich white men who were abolitionists but were willing to make deals with slavers and colonists. No people of color had a say in how the Constitution was written. No women had a say in how the Constitution was written.”
- “So the idea that this literal 18th Century slave document represents the best we can do as a society is laughable to me. Of course, it is a bad look at the source. How can it be anything other than kind of jacked? The Constitution has some great ideas. It has some great ideals it is pointing towards. But the problem is there has not been a day. We have not lived for a single day in this country where the ideas and ideals expressed in the Constitution have been given to everybody who lives in this country equally.”
- “One way you know the Constitution was kinda trash is the way it required a civil war less than a hundred years after it was adopted to solve some constitutional issues.”
Characterizing White Conservative Republicans and Their Voter Base As “Idiots” and “Racists”
In March 2022, while the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson were in progress, Mystal gave an interview to the leftwing website Salon in which he described Jackson’s white critics as “idiot people.”
Noting that prior to Jackson;s nomination, “[t]here have been 115 Supreme Court justices in American history, and 108 of them have been white males,” Mystal derided Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz for having opposed President Joe Biden’s candid declaration, from the start of his presidency, that he fully intended to appoint a black woman to the Supreme Court if and when the opportunity to nominate a new justice were to arise. Regarding Cruz’s observation that “I guess if you’re a white man, you have no shot,” Mystal said: “It’s an idiot statement, designed to play into the grievances of his idiot base, but also to be horribly offensive to everybody else because Ted Cruz doesn’t care about being horribly offensive to everybody else.”
Accusing a Republican Senator of Trying to Get Ketanji Brown Jackson “Killed”
During a March 19, 2022 appearance on MSNBC, Mystal claimed that Republican Senator Josh Hawley, by charging that Supreme Court nominee, Ketanji Brown Jackson had a demonstrably lenient record on sex offenders, was trying to get Ms. Jackson “killed.”
Rejecting the Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms
The Second Amendment preserves white supremacy and was created “to stop slave revolts,” Mystal told Salon in March 2022. He added:
- “The ‘well-regulated militia,’ which is the first part of the Second Amendment, that was a thing was because in the South, the principal way of putting down revolting slaves was to bring out the well-regulated militia. It turns out it’s kind of hard to hold black people in bondage against their will, so occasionally you have to bring in the guys with the guns to do it. Well, in the original Constitution, without the amendments, it was unclear who had the authority to raise the militia. White Southerners thought that the Northerners would dominate the federal government, wouldn’t raise the militia, and when black people rose up for their freedom and rights, the South would be powerless to stop them militarily.”
- “The Second Amendment is there to make it clear that everybody can be armed so they can raise this militia to go and fight slave revolts. That is not me theorizing or making things up. That is what George Mason, then governor of Virginia, said, when advocating for a Second Amendment. He literally made a speech where he said that, all right? People don’t know that history, and part of the reason why people don’t know that history is because Republicans have purposefully obscured it.”
Mystal also stated that the Supreme Court had erred in its District of Columbia v. Heller decision of 2008 to recognize an individual right to keep and bear arms:
“When you fast-forward 250 years, [the late Justice] Antonin Scalia in D.C. v. Heller, invents a right to bear arms for personal self-defense that did not exist at the original founding of the constitution. Scalia quotes George Mason’s speech, because at the beginning of the speech, a lot of it is about personal self-defense — again, personal self-defense from the slave revolts. Scalia leaves that part out and talks only about this right to personal self-defense, taking out the context. That’s how Republicans be!
“This is something that goes through all the way through my book. Originalists have this PR campaign that they’re going back to the original definitions of the Constitution as understood by the founders, when really they’re just making stuff up that’s convenient for their current political agenda.”
Dismissing “Reverse Racism” and Lamenting “White Privilege”
In his March 2022 interview with Salon magazine, Mystal said:
“[F]rom a legal definition, reverse racism doesn’t exist. And I would say that also, from that legal basis, that extends through any kind of understanding of our social power structure. Here’s the problem when you tell white people that they’ve experienced privilege. There are white people who are the beneficiaries of white privilege who still have crappy lives. And they think that because I say that they have privilege, then that privilege means that they shouldn’t have a crappy life. No, that’s not what white privilege is. White privilege is that if you take a white person with a crappy starting position and a Black person with a crappy starting position and kind of play out the string, what we’ll see is that the Black person will have the same crappy life as the white person, only a little worse. It’s the whole thing of whenever white America catches a cold, Black America catches the flu.”
Articulating his own personal sense of grievance, Mystal said that he himself would have achieved greater success in life if he had been born white: “White people will look at me right now and be like, ‘Well, I’m not doing as well as that black guy, so how am I having white privilege?’ And it’s like, because if I was white I would be the attorney goddamned general. That’s how you know. That’s the difference.”
Mystal Advocates the Packing of the Supreme Court with Democrat Leftists
In his March 2022 interview with Salon magazine, Mystal called for the Supreme Court to be dramatically expanded with the addition of numerous Democrat leftists, so that American jurisprudence would not shift away from the Left, which had dominated it for so long:
“It’s court expansion or bust. You expand the court or you cede the next 30 years of American law to six conservative justices. And as I try to explain throughout the book, nothing survives 30 years of six conservative justices. There’s nothing. Anything you want, doesn’t happen…. As long as you have six conservative justices, you get nothing on voting rights, you get nothing on gun rights, you get nothing on climate change, you get nothing on police brutality, you get nothing on health care, you get nothing. So you expand the court and take your chances there, or you resign yourself to getting nothing. And people will say, ‘Oh, well, if we expand the court, Republicans will just expand it right back.’ So what? How is that worse than where we are now? I would argue that if we expand the court, it makes it harder for Republicans to expand it back because it makes it harder for Republicans to control all of government, because when everybody votes, Republicans lose.”
In the same vein, Mystal in June 2022 exhorted Democrats to “flood the court” (the Supreme Court) with 20 additional justices.
Depicting America’s Founding Fathers As “Racist, Misogynist Jerkfaces”
On May 2, 2022, Politico reported that an unidentified individual had leaked an initial draft majority opinion, written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, in which the Court had decided to strike down the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. The following night on MSNBC, Mystal told Joy Reid: “Alito’s fundamental reasoning is that abortion is not a fundamental right because it doesn’t go back to the Founding, because the Founding Fathers didn’t recognize abortion as a fundamental right. He’s right about that. The Founding Fathers didn’t recognize abortion as a fundamental right because the Founding Fathers were racist, misogynist jerkfaces who didn’t believe that women had any rights at all. So, of course, they didn’t believe that women had rights to their own bodies. The Founding Fathers didn’t believe that marital rape was a thing! Couldn’t be a thing, according to the Founding Fathers, according to Sam Alito, so that’s the history that Sam Alito is accessing.”
Mystal Rejects the Supreme Court Decision Favoring High-School Football Coach Who Led His Team in Voluntary Prayers
In a reference to the Supreme Court’s June 27, 2022 Kennedy v. Bremerton School District decision, where the Court ruled 6-3 that a Washington State school district had violated First Amendment religious freedom protections when it dismissed high-school football coach Joseph Kennedy for leading voluntary personal prayers at the 50-yard line after games, Mystal said: “What we’re going see next term is this court continue to feed on vulnerable people, on minorities, on non-Christians. Look, there is nothing in the Supreme Court decisions that allow a football coach to lead students in prayer, lead players in prayer that tells me that they are going to allow a Muslim school teacher to pray five times a day towards Mecca. That’s the point about history and tradition. It’s only kind of white Christian and tradition that they are again trying to impose on the rest of us against our will.” (Notably, Several Jewish and Islamic groups filed friend-of-the-court briefs supporting Kennedy’s position.)
Supporter of Black Lives Matter
Mystal has been a strong supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement. As of July 2022, his official Twitter profile picture featured a black version of Twitter’s bird logo accompanied by the neo-Marxist “raised fist” image.
Smearing Herschel Walker As a “Negro,” Mystal Accuses “Stupid” Republican Voters of Supporting “White Supremacy”
During an appearance on MSNBC’s The Cross Connection with Tiffany Cross in the summer of 2022, Mystal denounced conservative black Republican Herschel Walker, who was running slightly behind Democrat incumbent Raphael Warnock in the polls for the upcoming U.S. Senate race in Georgia, as a “Negro.” Said Mystal:
“It’s going to be a close election in Georgia because Walker has the backing of the Republicans. You ask why are Republicans backing this man who’s so clearly unintelligent, who so clearly doesn’t have independent thoughts, but that’s actually the reason. Walker is going do what he’s told, and that is what Republicans like. That’s what Republicans want from their Negroes: to do what they were told. And Walker presents exactly as a person who lacks independent thoughts, lacks an independent agenda, lacks an independent ability to grasp policies, and he’s just going to go in there and vote like Mitch McConnell tells them to vote.”
In the same interview, Mystal broadly categorized all Republican voters as racists. “I tend to not focus on what GOP voters are going to do,” he said. “They have already proven that they are willing to vote for white supremacy. They’re willing to vote for stupidity. They’re willing to vote for insurrection.”
A Very Wealthy Man
As of 2022, Mystal had a net worth of approximately $20 million.