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.
(bolding mine)

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.

Sedition requires that force be used to prevent the execution of a law. I don’t see how force was used in the shutdown.

Fair enough. Legal issues are not something I claim expertise (or even familiarity) - so I was curious. Thank you.

Weellll . . . There are American federal sedition laws, still on the books, and having passed the test of First Amendment challenges in the SCOTUS, that criminalize just advocating the overthrow of the government, or interference-by-word with its operations. See the Espionage Act of 1917, the Sedition Act of 1918, and the Smith Act, the latter of which was used to try and convict Communists just for being Communists.

I see no reason why, in theory, a member of Congress could not be guilty of sedition. But, as others noted, use of force is a required element of that crime.

IMHO, repeatedly using the legislative process to attempt to overturn a piece of legislation is unlikely to be consider as use of force in this context.

Well, there is such thing as Congressional immunity.

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.

You’re wrong.

Try this person for sedition!

This is as stupid as when right-wingers do it.

Any way you look at it, Republicans have taken a big hit with the failed shutdown strategy. Overreaching by opponents would just take a bit of gloss off that victory.

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!”


Yeah, the Force was definitely not strong with these ones.

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.

Not that I agree with the OP, but you have to also read the “by force” preceding the bolded part.

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).

Anyway, it’s unconstititional to charge congresscritters with any crime (or to sue them) in connection with anything they say in their official capacities. Speech or Debate Clause.

I wasn’t reading it wrongly, and I stand by my correction of HC’s post. It’s not correct to read only the bolded part of the law and make assumptions based on that, as that poster did.

Sorry, my post wasn’t aimed at you. That was just bad timing.

Not even if they are impeached?

I think sedition is a little extreme, but I’d at least like to see a judge get a crack at them.

By no means do I agree with 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.