The recent Republican letter to Iran has received an impressive, diplomatically amusing response on Twitter from Iran's Foreign Minister, in which he schools the Republican Party on the intricacies of international law and the US Constitution. The letter, penned by a freshman senator who recently advocated regime change and an end to talks with Iran, appears to have violated the Logan Act, but probably can't be prosecuted. President Obama's response was short and classic.
Habeas Corpus, R.I.P. (1215 - 2006). It was so pre-9/11 anyway. Instead we may get "our generation’s version of the Alien and Sedition Acts." What could go wrong?
Is this America's new meme? Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), May 18, 2006: "I am a strong supporter of the First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment and civil liberties. But you have no civil liberties if you are dead." (via) Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), December 19, 2005: "None of your civil liberties matter much after you’re dead." Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI), responded to Cornyn: "Give me liberty or give me death." Good on that. First Amendment, Fourth Amendment (General Hayden's version), civil liberties.
Sneering at President John Adams as "querulous, Bald, blind, crippled, Toothless Adams" got Ben Franklin's grandson arrested under the Sedition Act of 1798. Federalists like Adams and Alexander Hamilton used the Sedition Act to muzzle highly aggressive elements of the press. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison fought back -- and won. Understanding this early power grab by the U.S. executive branch helps put recent events into historical context. The struggle itself has been part of the United States of America since the beginning, and anyone working to fight Cheney and Ashcroft's unconstitutional assault happens to be in pretty good company. Happy Fourth of July.