Senators Guilty of Treason? Lowdown on the Logan

11 March 2015

Barack Obama imagines he may have found a means to destroy our Republican majority in the Senate. He circulates a petition to charge 47 Republican senators with Treason, purportedly for violation of the Logan Act of 1799.

Reference – News article in the Examiner: Petition to charge Republican senators with treason over Iran deal takes off 

Looking at the law, as written, let’s start with applicable Constitutional text: Section 1, Article 6, Paragraph 1:

“The Senators and Representatives …shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.”

Now, let’s examine text from the 1799 law title The Logan Act which was enacted subsequent to an unofficial visit to France by one Dr. George Logan of Pennsylvania, a state legislator who acted to influence French government officials. Logan did not at any time represent himself as an agent of the United States of America, but as a private citizen. These words, “Private Citizen”, are the focus of my discussion.

That unfortunate act was the product of federalist lawmakers (think: Big Government people). There is more to the story, but I end Dr. Logan’s odyssey here.

Logan was elected to the Senate where he tried unsuccessfully to get the Logan Act repealed.

Here is the text of the law:

§ 953. Private correspondence with foreign governments.

Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

This section shall not abridge the right of a citizen to apply himself, or his agent, to any foreign government, or the agents thereof, for redress of any injury which he may have sustained from such government or any of its agents or subjects.

From the above text I draw your attention to the phrase “without authority of the United States“. When one studies the Constitution, one comes to understand we do not have three co-equal branches of government. There is hierarchy all citizens should know. It works like this, top to bottom.

  • God created man. Therefore, God is sovereign over man.
  • Man created states. Therefore we the people are sovereign over the states.
  • The states created federal government. I reference the Tenth Amendment. Therefore, the states hold sovereignty over federal government.

Our Constitution sets forth the three branches of government in order of authority.

  • Article I: the Congress
  • Article II: the Executive branch
  • Article III: the judiciary

Note that Congress can fire presidents and judges, but presidents and judges cannot fire lawmakers.

Precisely what that key phrase means, that Logan Act phrase “without authority of the United States” was not defined in the statute.

I say the U.S. Senate has higher authority over treaties and foreign affairs than the executive branch. Specifically, while the President makes treaties, it is the Senate that ratifies them. Ratify means “to give formal approval or consent to“. The body of highest “authority of the United States” is the Senate. Therefore, Obama’s specious threat to charge Senators with treason is wholly without merit.

Let’s remember we live in a Constitutional Republic where it is the Rule of Law that governs our affairs. Obama would pretend we are a democracy, mob rule, whereby he is capable of destroying our GOP Senate majority, but all the Kenyan can do is raise a stink.

Meanwhile, as Scripture instructs us in 1 Timothy 2:1-3:

“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior”

Pray for ALL in authority, including our president, vice president, all lawmakers, not just Republicans. ALL lawmakers.

Soli Deo Gloria

John White​

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