I saw this today and I am curious as to the opinion of the Dope. I’m putting it in the Pit because – well, the discussion may get heated. Perhaps this is not the right place for it, but eh. Go ahead and yell at me if I am wrong.
It is a petition to charge those who orchestrated the shutdown with sedition. Sedition is defined as:
If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.
Obamacare is the law of the land. Passed, signed and vetted by the Supremes. Failing numerous attempts to legally overturn it, it appears that some parties decided to try to use leverage to prevent the law from going into effect through a shutdown, invective, and whatnot. Can legal representatives of the government be guilty of sedition?
I sincerely apologize if this has been already addressed. I searched but found nothing really recent.
And because it is the Pit, FUCK those who try to hold the country hostage. Fuck them right in the ear.
But Congress is the government - or at least the part of it that’s in control of the budget. So while you and I and most other Americans may agree they were doing a terrible job of it, within the scope of the law what the House did qualifies as the operation of the government. In fact, you could probably make a better argument that this petition is sedition than the shutdown was.
There’s no need to arrest any members of Congress for what happened. It was a political issue and it is best resolved by the political process: vote the idiots who shut down the country out of office in 2014.
Aside from the First Amendment, the inevitable chilling effect on the political process, the all-but-guaranteed political shitstorm this would create, and the general principle that imprisoning one’s political opponents is something of a rape of democracy, I can’t think why this would be a bad idea.
By its own terms, Art. I., Sec. 6, Cl. 1 does not apply to felonies or treason.
“Boy, it’s been a while since MoveOn has been in the news… How can we raise the profile of our organization? I know! We’ll put out a petition saying something outrageous that will get our partisan membership all fired up! Shoot, this petition doesn’t even have to be grounded in reality at all, just as long as it gets attention!”
Under the bolded section in the OP, wouldn’t any attempt to repeal an active law, via legislation or through the courts, by the public or a lawmaker, be considered sedition? That seems a little overly broad.
You’re all reading it wrong. The language quoted in the OP is the definition of seditious conspiracy (not sedition) that is currently criminalized by federal law. You don’t have to do anything by force to be guilty of seditious conspiracy. You just have to conspire to do it by force - so raising a private army to seize the Capitol qualifies, even if you never actually seize anything.
Sedition at common law and in most federal statutes didn’t have a force element at all. It was basically defined as any criticism of the government (and later as any criticism of the government inspired by pinko sensibilities).
By no means do I agree with MoveOn.org that members of Congress should (or even can) be charged with sedition. I’m trying to point out that the extension of the MoveOn interpretation is ridiculous. No force was involved in the shutdown/debt limit debate either, yet they’re proposing sedition charges.