April 6, 2007

We are "considering."

Good article in OpinionJournal, by Robert F. Turner, Illegal Diplomacy: Did Nancy Pelosi commit a felony when she went to Syria?

The Logan Act makes it a felony and provides for a prison sentence of up to three years for any American, "without authority of the United States," to communicate with a foreign government in an effort to influence that government's behavior on any "disputes or controversies with the United States." Some background on this statute helps to understand why Ms. Pelosi may be in serious trouble...

Of course nothing will actually be done to Ms Pelosi, and probably nothing should be done. (Though one rather wishes the administration were really the neo-con cowboys they are portrayed as. Then we would have the fun of wondering!)

But the article is very interesting on the important debates that preceded the act, and the Supreme Court decisions after.

....Griswold and Parker were Federalists who believed in strong executive power. But consider this statement by Albert Gallatin, the future Secretary of the Treasury under President Thomas Jefferson, who was wary of centralized government: "it would be extremely improper for a member of this House to enter into any correspondence with the French Republic . . . As we are not at war with France, an offence of this kind would not be high treason, yet it would be as criminal an act, as if we were at war." [France and the US were in a "quasi-war," which included privateering and fights at sea.]

Indeed, the offense is greater when the usurpation of the president's constitutional authority is done by a member of the legislature--all the more so by a Speaker of the House--because it violates not just statutory law but constitutes a usurpation of the powers of a separate branch and a breach of the oath of office Ms. Pelosi took to support the Constitution....

Hmmm. "Quasi-war." Sounds kinda familiar. One wishes the Justice Department would merely announce that it is "considering" the possible applicability of the Logan Act. It might have an educative effect on certain people. Ordinary Americans I mean; I consider the Democratic leadership uneducable. Pelosi of course, because she's just not very bright (I had to laugh when I heard Rush describe her as, "A few french-fries short of a Happy Meal"). But in a more general sense, one can't educate core Democrats because they don't believe the things they currently believe.

There will never be a real debate, because Democrats lack any intellectual framework of beliefs and principles that one might criticize, or that they could base arguments on. Pelosi and company will never make a constitutional case for their actions, because they have never thought that way. They do not have beliefs, they have habits. Leftist and collectivist habits of thought inherited from past generations who actually believed in things like Marxism, and would argue from principle

Posted by John Weidner at April 6, 2007 9:36 AM
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