Friday Reads: Sedition Edition

A revolt or an incitement to revolt against established authority,

usually in the form of Treason or Defamation against government.

This is the description of acts that fall under the area of sedition under the US Constitution and  law.

Sedition is the crime of revolting or inciting revolt against government. However, because of the broad protection of free speech under the First Amendment, prosecutions for sedition are rare.

Nevertheless, sedition remains a crime in the United States under 18 U.S.C.A. § 2384 (2000),  a federal statute that punishes seditious conspiracy, and 18 U.S.C.A. § 2385 (2000), which outlaws advocating the overthrow of the federal government by force.

Generally, a person may be punished for sedition only when he or she makes statements that create a Clear and Present  Danger to rights that the government may lawfully protect (schenck v. united states, 249 U.S. 47, 39 S. Ct. 247, 63 L. Ed. 470 [1919]).

The crime of seditious conspiracy is committed when two or more persons in any state or U.S. territory conspire to levy war against the U.S. government. A person commits the crime of advocating the violent overthrow of the federal government when she willfully advocates or teaches the overthrow of the government by force, publishes material that advocates the overthrow of the government by force, or organizes persons to overthrow the government by force. A person found guilty of seditious conspiracy or advocating the overthrow of the government may be fined and sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. States also maintain laws that punish similar advocacy and conspiracy against the state government.

And with that, lets’ start our reads with The New Yorker‘s Susan B Glasser. “It’s Not Just Trump’s War on Democracy Anymore. Republicans have gone far beyond merely humoring their losing leader.”  They have gone way way to far.  It now is taking the tone of sedition. I’m continuing some of the news BB shared with us yesterday.  You may read her post yesterday for some more background as we see more news and analysis breaking today.

We know see exactly how many representatives in the US Congress want to overturn the election and who they are.  This is beginning to look a lot more like an attempt to overthrow our legitimate government.  The first appeal to the Supreme Court to throw out the votes of certain states was rebuffed soundly on Tuesday.  The “safe harbor” date will come on December 14.  And then this happened on Wednesday.

Select Political cartoons are from The Buffalo News’s Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Adam Zyglis.

Undaunted, in the space of a few hours on Wednesday, Trump had his campaign join an even more far-fetched lawsuit, by Texas, asking the Court to throw out millions of votes in battleground states that decided the election’s outcome—Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—all of which have already certified their results. A few hours after this news, Hunter Biden, the son of the man who did win the election, announced that Trump’s appointee as U.S. Attorney for Delaware had opened a federal criminal investigation of his tax dealings. Here, too, you could say it was all just a predictable mess. Trump has been obsessed with Hunter Biden for years; he pushed Ukraine to launch a politically harmful investigation of Biden so hard that he got impeached over it. So why wouldn’t the President join the Texas case, even though it is, as the election lawyer Rick Hasen put it, more press release than legal argument? Trump certainly has never minded losing in court.

What came as a gut punch, though, and still, even after all this time, a real surprise to me, was the announcement that seventeen other states—or at least their attorneys general—had filed a brief supporting the spurious Texas lawsuit, representing, from South Carolina to Utah, an array of pro-Trump red states. Eighteen states, in other words, are making the preposterous—and democratically devastating—argument that the Supreme Court should throw out other states’ votes because they do not like the results. So much for federalism and states’ rights and all those other previously cherished Republican principles. Up on Capitol Hill, meanwhile, a hundred and six House Republicans filed an amicus brief of their own supporting the Texas lawsuit. Some of these same Trump supporters in Congress are also now considering objecting to the Electoral College results when they are presented to the House, on January 6th, in what is meant to be a purely pro-forma procedural move. Mitt Romney dismissed the idea as “madness,” but he remains a lonely public voice against Trump, as his fellow-Republicans either fall in line or remain inexcusably silent. This has gone far beyond just humoring Trump for a few days.

In its response to the Texas case, filed Thursday afternoon, Pennsylvania called the lawsuit’s claims “moot, meritless, and dangerous,” and said that its Trump-inspired assault on results in states where Biden won amounts to a “seditious abuse of the judicial process.” The Supreme Court, Pennsylvania argued, should not only reject the Texas case but in so doing “send a clear and unmistakable signal that such abuse must never be replicated.”

Even the conservative magazine The National Review has an Editorial headline today that reads “Texas Unleashes an Absurd Kraken.”

The odds of the Texas election lawsuit prevailing in the Supreme Court might not be less than one in a quadrillion, but they are extremely remote — and should be.

Texas is asking the Supreme Court to invalidate the presidential election in four battleground states won by Joe Biden because, it argues, election procedures in those states violated the Constitution, and the resulting irregularities impermissibly diluted the votes of Texans.

To call this far-fetched is an understatement — it is the Kraken of constitutional law.

Texas has no standing to challenge the election procedures in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Georgia, and the Supreme Court doesn’t have the authority to order new elections in those states or bar electors from those states from voting in the Electoral College. The case was brought by Texas because the Supreme Court is required to hear all lawsuits brought by a state against other states, but it retains the power to dismiss those suits out of hand if the case is not one that a state legally can bring. If there were any prior case that lent credibility to these outlandish claims, Texas would have cited it.

See the source imageThe Orlando Sentinel proffered this:

We apologize to our readers for endorsing Michael Waltz in the 2020 general election for Congress.

We had no idea, had no way of knowing at the time, that Waltz was not committed to democracy.

During our endorsement interview with the incumbent congressman, we didn’t think to ask, “Would you support an effort to throw out the votes of tens of millions of Americans in four states in order to overturn a presidential election and hand it to the person who lost, Donald Trump?”

Our bad.

No kidding.

Here’s the Amicus Brief where you can see who in your state is trying to start a second civil war.  You can also read more on this crap about the 106 Republican Congress Critters here at CBS. I’d just like to apologize from the sane people living in Louisiana for the crazy district that voted whackado Mike Johnson who appears to have been a leader in the act of sedition.

Congressman Mike Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana, circulated an email, obtained by CBS News, from his personal account to GOP members Wednesday that asked them to join a friend-of-the-court brief to be filed in support of the effort spearheaded by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Johnson was a vocal defender of Mr. Trump during impeachment proceedings.

“The simple objective of our brief is to affirm for the court (and our constituents back home) our serious concerns with the integrity of our election system,” Johnson wrote. “We are not seeking to independently litigate the particular allegations of fraud in our brief (this is not our place as amici). We will merely state our belief that the broad scope of the various allegations and irregularities in the subject states merits careful, timely review by the Supreme Court.”

On the other hand, Ohio’s AG filed its support for Pennsylvania.    This is from

Attorney General Dave Yost on Thursday filed a legal brief with the U.S. Supreme Court opposing a Texas lawsuit’s goal to effectively delay the Electoral College from voting Joe Biden the next U.S. president.

Yost, a Columbus Republican, stated in the brief that the Supreme Court lacks authority to order state legislatures in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to appoint presidential electors. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lawsuit argues such a move is needed because coronavirus-related changes to election rules in those states opened the door to voter fraud (claims of which have so far been unsubstantiated).

“The relief that Texas seeks would undermine a foundational premise of our federalist system: the idea that the States are sovereigns, free to govern themselves,” Yost stated in the brief, adding later: “The courts have no more business ordering the People’s representatives how to choose electors than they do ordering the People themselves how to choose their dinners.

From David Cohen at the Rolling Stone:  “Trump’s ‘Big’ Texas Supreme Court Lawsuit Is Just as Fake as All the Others. Don’t be fooled because the case was filed in the Supreme Court. It’s going nowhere — and Trump is still on his way out of the White House”

Trump’s latest ridiculous attempt to thwart the will of the American electorate comes in the form of a Texas lawsuit filed Tuesday morning. In the lawsuitTexas is suing the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Georgia, alleging election officials in each of those states failed to follow their state laws during the election by making it easier for people to vote absentee, early, and/or by mail, and thus — according to Texas — making it easier for voter fraud. The remedy the suit seeks is to throw out the results of all four states. Of course, all four states voted for Biden.

This lawsuit is peculiar because Texas filed it directly in the Supreme Court. Almost all Supreme Court cases start in the lower courts and take their time to work their way up to the Supreme Court. However, the Constitution allows for a small sliver of cases to be filed directly in the Supreme Court. One such category is suits “in which a state shall be a party.” And federal statute says cases between two or more states must be filed in the Supreme Court. Texas is suing four other states; thus, Texas had to file in the Supreme Court.

But just because this is the type of case that must be filed directly in the Supreme Court doesn’t mean that the court will actually hear the case. The court has discretion to hear these types of cases directly or to send them to the lower courts for development before it gets to the supremes.

Commentators all over the political spectrum agree that there is no way the Supreme Court will touch this case. Take your pick among the almost endless reasons why: There is no legal basis for one state to complain about the election procedures of another state. There is no constitutional requirement that states have similar voting rules or procedures. The justices, even the extreme conservatives appointed by Trump, will not want to interfere with an election that wasn’t that close. And, possibly most important, the justices will have no interest in overturning the votes of millions of people and thereby anointing themselves the final decision-makers in presidential elections. There is just no world in which this lawsuit succeeds, as it is completely frivolous.

Nonetheless, Trump has labeled this case “the big one” and filed a motion yesterday to intervene. In plain English, that means he wants to join Texas as a party in the case because he has a stake in its outcome. Other politicians are clamoring to get on board. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, eager to show his boundless loyalty to the man he has called “utterly amoral,” a “serial philanderer,” a “narcissist at a level I don’t think this country’s ever seen,” and a “pathological liar,” has offered to argue the case in the Supreme Court. And 18 states filed a brief yesterday supporting this lawsuit.

Seriously, this really shows we have a large number of Americans who never had a civics course and are still walking around upright. Over here in reality land where facts, rule of law, and reality matter, Time gives Joe Biden and Kamala Harris the shared title of Person of the year.  This is probably one of the reasons why Trumperz is tweeting like a magpie today.


Biden and Harris share a faith that empathetic governance can restore the solidarity we’ve lost. Biden told TIME he has lately been reading about Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first 100 days, when FDR worked to pull the nation out of the Great Depression, a feat that helped restore confidence in democracy. “We’re the only country in the world that has come out of every crisis stronger than we went into the crisis,” he insists. “I predict we will come out of this crisis stronger than when we went in.” Their challenge is, above all, not about any one policy, proposal or piece of legislation. It is convincing America that a future exists, for all of us, together. It is nothing less than reconciling America with itself.

We’re still counting down the days until January 20. Our nation is still being held hostage to the malign intent of Trump and his cronies for 39 days.

Come on we can do this!  We can pull through all of this together.  We have a country to rebuild!  We also have to do as much as we can to get those Georgia Senatorial seats which both have been declared too close to call if you believe FiveThirtyEight.

Hang in there!  Be safe!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


26 Comments on “Friday Reads: Sedition Edition”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Well, I’ve got to lecture from 8 to 5 tomorrow as well as eat two meals in a lecture hall still so I’ll be out of pocket until the evening. I’m around today so chat it up and hugs to every one! I just depend on love y’all so much! This is a real safe space from these truly dark days.


    • Enheduanna says:

      Hope all goes well tomorrow Dak. I’d be tempted to wear a hazmat suit if I had one.

      • dakinikat says:

        The room is one I’m familiar with and it holds up to 250 people so if every one stays distanced we should be okay. I’m a bit worried about the catered meals though.

        • NW Luna says:

          Take a covered plate to somewhere else! Hope you don’t get infected. Your students will be getting a treat with you lecturing.

  2. dakinikat says:

    • NW Luna says:

      Is this real! Hey Donny, retire to that prison awaiting you on fraud, corruption, and espionage charges and the world will be a better place.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Great post. I hope the SCOTUS responds today. I don’t want this to drag on any longer. It’s ridiculous, and these lawyers and AGs should be sanctioned for filing such a frivolous lawsuit.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    I can’t read the Rolling Stone story without subscribing.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Trump acting like a dictator again.

    • NW Luna says:

      Gah. The FDA was about 99% going to approve it anyway. No one will thank Trumpf for the vaccine no matter what shenanigans he pulls.

  6. bostonboomer says:

  7. reb57 says:

    Love that Times Magazine cover and Woodie Guthrie singing “This Land is Your Land”! Added some warmth and beauty to the ugliness of our political reality.

    • dakinikat says:

      Thanks! I always try to find art or something that’s uplifting to offset that bleak news of the day when that’s the nature of the stories.

      • NW Luna says:

        Wish it was one of the recordings — rare — which have these less well-known verses.

        As I was walking, I saw a sign there
        And that sign said, “No trespassing”
        But on the other side it didn’t say nothin’
        That side was made for you and me, sing


        In the squares of the city, in the shadow of the steeple
        Near the relief office I see my people
        And some are grumblin’ and all are wonderin’
        If this land’s still made for you and me, tell ’em


  8. palhart says:

    Stephen Schmidt, in early December, said: “The Republican Party is an organized conspiracy for the purposes of maintaining power for self-interest, and the self-interest of its donor class…it’s no longer dedicated to American democracy.”

  9. RonStill4Hills says:

    I can’t say I love Diane Feinstein, but I like her a lot. I respect her to the moon and back. I feel she should be allowed to finish her career with dignity.

    That said I hope she will retire and Governor Newsome will appoint Karen Bass or someone like her In Senator Feinstein’s place.

    There is nothing to gain by holding on until something embarrassing happens. I am reminded of Willie Mays staying in the game too long.

  10. bostonboomer says:

  11. My vote is in the mail for the Georgia run-off. (Although I’ve lived in Canada for fortyeight years, I vote in Georgia’s 5th District.) In the General, Democrats Abroad accounted for 19,000 votes in Georgia … never before have I been so impressed with the value of my vote!