I’m not a lawyer, but.. #47Traitors or #47Patriots and the Logan Act

Preamble of the Constitution

Depending on which side of the political aisle you’re on, no doubt you have heard the latest dust up regarding whether the Republican Senators who signed the open letter to Iran are traitors. Make no mistake, the liberals are on full blast screaming about how seditious these irresponsible Republicans are, so much so, they have created a petition to get charges filed against these Obama haters.

Let’s examine the Logan Act for a moment:

18 USC § 953 states:

Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

This section shall not abridge the right of a citizen to apply, himself or his agent, to any foreign government or the agents thereof for redress of any injury which he may have sustained from such government or any of its agents or subjects.

The key phrase here is in the words emphasized above. Does the Senate and/or its members qualify as an authority to itself? In Article II Section 2 of the Constitution, it reads:

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur;

It is well established in the country’s history that the Senate and the President have worked hand in hand in making treaties with foreign governments. The President has the authority to make the treaty, but does so with the help of the Senate. The Senate has procedures in which it can either accept the treaty as is, apply conditions to accepting the treaty, make legislation in support or deference to the treaty as necessary, or reject it. Does it mean the Senate can act independently while the President negotiates?

The answer is quite simple, in that, in 1975, the State Department told Congress that “Nothing in section 953 . . . would appear to restrict members of the Congress from engaging in discussions with foreign officials in pursuance of their legislative duties under the Constitution.” Since the Senate, and the Congress as whole, has a responsibility towards foreign policy in general, it is highly unlikely that you could argue that a member of Congress can be punished, and certainly the 47 members who signed the letter.

And even if the President decided to follow through and determine the Senators did, in fact, violate the Logan Act, you’d have to grab Nancy Pelosi in there as well since she went to Syria before Obama was in office despite President’s Bush policy of isolating the Syrian president. After all, Pelosi was just exercising her Congressional authority, despite her actions going against official government policy.

Even without Pelosi, however, there have been additional Constitutional doctrines established by the Courts in regards to the First and Fifth Amendments, of which, the Logan Act, having had only one case prosecuted under it, and that was in 1803, may not stand Constitutional scrutiny. In other words, the Logan Act most likely would not survive a modern judicial challenge.

And by the way, what constitutes treason in the Constitution is well defined. Irritating the President by using your defined Constitutional powers hardly comes close. Besides, it’s not like Obama hasn’t ignored the Constitution on his own.

So Liberals, unless you can come up with a better argument, I’d say you’re making a fuss out of nothing. Besides, its not like the #47Patriots were trying to influence a US election.

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