Seditious conspiracy law a contradiction, calls to arrest officials senseless


I’m often astonished by the things that liberal democrats think up.

For example, a petition posted to by Marc Belisle states: “I call on the Justice Department of the United States of America to arrest Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Speaker of the House John Boehner, and other decision-making House Republican leaders for the crime of seditious conspiracy against the United States of America.”

My initial reaction was to laugh: if the Justice Department were to arrest any Republican leader for the crime of seditious conspiracy, we would learn what seditious conspiracy really was.

Arresting Republican leaders will do nothing to further anyone’s cause – nor, for that matter, would the arresting of Democrat leaders.

Now that the media’s fit-throwing and name-calling over the shutdown has calmed down, it’s clear it can clearly be blamed on either side. Both sides fought to protect the ideals they ran on. Unfortunately, the Republicans in power proved to have no backbone.

While it is clear that the shutdown was an issue, albeit one made to look much more impactful than it actually was, the really disturbing issue surrounding this petition is that 18 USC § 2384, the law against seditious conspiracy, is even on the books.

The crime of seditious conspiracy is a law that should not even exist in America: it is in direct contradiction to our Declaration of Independence. Just compare the text of the two: you will see it clear as day.

The law against seditious conspiracy reads “If two or more persons… conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States…they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.”

Meanwhile, our founding Declaration reads “in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

The former says that rebellion is universally intolerable. The latter says something very different.

This petition has made it even clearer that the federal government holds too much power. Republicans defied a law that should have been declared unconstitutional to begin with, and now tens of thousands of people are calling for their arrest.

Has our Declaration of Independence been forgotten? Has our Constitution been abandoned? Even if you are for the Affordable Healthcare Act, you should be concerned that our constitutional republic is under threat.

Go ahead and call me a teabagger, but when your control over your health care is taken away, bear in mind the government shutdown of 2013. By the time you realize that the Republicans who threw a fit over healthcare have a point, it may be too late to save the choices you had a right to.

Samantha Poetter is a senior in political science. Please send comments to