Nobody, Including Tom Cotton, Knows What Tom Cotton Is Saying About "Corruption of the Blood"

Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) is in the news this month. For reasons that passeth understanding he's been offered up as a spokesperson for the 47 Republicans who wrote a letter to Iran.1 Today I noticed a number of links to 2013 reports asserting that Sen. Tom Cotton offered an amendment to a bill that would allow imprisonment without due process of the relatives of the targets or Iranian sanctions. The Huffington Post's Zach Carter may be Patient Zero on this idea:

WASHINGTON — Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) on Wednesday offered legislative language that would "automatically" punish family members of people who violate U.S. sanctions against Iran, levying sentences of up to 20 years in prison.

. . .

Article III of the Constitution explicitly bans Congress from punishing treason based on "corruption of blood" — meaning that relatives of those convicted of treason cannot be punished based only on a familial tie.

That story is getting more play this week because of the controversy over the Republicans' Iran letter, and the phrase "corruption of the blood" is on many a lip.

The proposed language, as described, struck me as an unusual thing for a Senator to do, even if the Senator graduated from Harvard Law School and therefore is not entirely responsible for his actions. Is this real? Or is this another case of journalistic malpractice on legal matters?2

The answer appears to be that nobody in this story understands what's being talked about.

Background: Prohibitions on Trading With Sanctioned Parties

The President has the power to prohibit trading with certain groups. Let's call them "bad guys." The list of bad guys is politically flexible and subject to constant tinkering, as is typically the case for such lists.

If the President prohibits trading with Bad Guys, and you trade with the Bad Guys, or conspire to do so, you can be charged with a federal crime and will face serious consequences.3

In 2012 Congress passed the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012, which told the President to "identify foreign persons that are officials, agents, or affiliates of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps," exclude them from the country, and add them to the list of Bad Guys with whom you can't trade.

In 2013 the House of Representatives considered the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013, which would have emphasized that Congress really really meant it when they passed the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012, in case any Iranian Revolutionary Guard members or likely voters were in doubt. That bill would have tinkered with various parts of the law, including expanding the list of Bad Guys to include Iranian human rights abusers and foreigners who engage in transactions with Iran's central bank.

Tom Cotton Is Serious About Bad Guys And Their Families

The "corruption of the blood" issue arose in connection with an amendment that Tom Cotton — then a Member of Congress — offered to the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013. The minutes of the Committee on Foreign Affairs markup session on the bill tell the tale. Cotton offered this amendment:

IMadeYouAnAmendmentButIEatedIt

You might look at that and ask "what the hell does that mean?" You could pull the bill it's proposing to amend and still ask that, because the page numbers and line numbers don't track with the available versions of the bill. But in effect, then-Rep. Cotton was proposing that the list of Bad Guys with whom one cannot trade be expanded to include not just Iranian human rights abusers, but their relatives. So, for instance, part of the bill would read this way if the amendment were accepted:

(A) the President should include any Iranian person holding a position in the Government of Iran described in paragraph (1) and any family member of such official (to include a spouse or relative to the third degree of consanguinity) on one or more of the [lists of bad guys]

In other words, the amendment serves to establish that not only can't you trade with (for instance) the Commander of the Quds Force, you also can't evade the statute by giving his grandson a lucrative deal for a TV show call QUDS FORCE.

That seems relatively straightforward. The amendment — no doubt drafted by some legislative assistant — is intended to prevent people from getting around the trading sanctions by doing deals with relatives of Bad Guys.

The "OMG corruption of the blood" narrative resulted, in part, from Cotton not understanding his own amendment, and nobody else understanding it either. Cotton's understanding was limited to his prepared (by someone else) statement:

However, I think it is pointless if we let them simply divert assets and income to relatives, so this amendment would also add to the list of sanctions anyone married to those persons or to the third degree of consanguinity which in plain English are parents, children, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, grandparents, great-grandparents, grandkids, great-grandkids.

The first sign of lack of comprehension comes from Rep. Castro:

Mr. CASTRO. Congressman, under your amendment, if they’re trying to funnel resources to family members, how would we investigate and come to that conclusion?
Chairman ROYCE. Mr. Cotton, you’re recognized.
Mr. COTTON. There would be no investigation. If the prime malefactor of the family is identified as on the list for sanctions, then everyone within their family would automatically come within the sanctions regime, as well. It would be very hard to investigate and demonstrate through conclusive proof, and I think that we would leave a gaping loophole if we didn’t adopt this amendment.

Rep. Castro apparently thinks that relatives only get on the Bad Guy list if there's proof that their family's Head Bad Guy is funneling money to them, when in fact it's automatic. Cotton fails to pick up on the confusion.

Then comes Rep. Grayson with the new narrative:

Again, this is a bill that provides for a prison term of 20 years potentially for people who violate this bill. The amendment that’s being offered doesn’t even indicate a requirement of knowing violation.

Again, my conception of the due process provision in the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution does not comport with this amendment. I will vote against it if it comes to a vote. And, also, I hope that we do now have a provision in the bill that indicates that there’s severability at every provision in this bill if this provision is incorporated in the bill because I really question the constitutionality of a provision that punishes nephews on account of the actions of uncles.

Rep. Grayson, wittingly or not, has just suggested that the amendment changes who can be charged and imprisoned under the penalty provision of the prohibition on trading with Bad Guys, or changes the knowledge requirement of that provision. It doesn't. It doesn't change the elements of the crime at all. It only adds to the list of people you can't trade with. It doesn't expose those people — the family members of the Bad Guys — to 20 years in prison. If the government wants to charge you with unlawful trading with the grandkid of a Bad Guy, they would still have to prove the same things:

Accordingly, the elements of the crime of dealing in the property of an [Bad Guy] are: (1) Defendants knowingly dealt in the property or property interest of the [Bad Guy]; (2) the property was within the United States or within the possession of a United States person; and (3) Defendants knew that they were prohibited from dealing in any property or property interests of the [Bad Guy]. See 50 U.S.C. § 1705(c); 31 C.F.R. §§ 595.201(a), 595.204; Sipe, 388 F.3d at 480 n. 21.

In other words, the feds would still have to prove you knew you were making prohibited trades with the grandson of Qud Force.

This would have been a good time for Tom Cotton to clear this misunderstanding up, if he understood himself what he was talking about. Alas.

Mr. COTTON. Iranian citizens do not have constitutional rights under the United States Constitution. I sympathize with their plight if they are harmless, innocent civilians in Iran. I doubt that that is often the case, and the stakes of this bill in our confrontation with Iran could not be any higher.

Wait, what? No, dammit, you're conflating two separate issues. Issue One is whether people have a due process right not to be put on the Bad Guy list, because it has dramatic consequences like being excluded from the United States and prohibiting Americans from trading with you. Issue Two is whether this bill makes it easier to put people in federal prison. You're helping to mix them up.

Then Cotton makes it worse:

Mr. COTTON. I’m happy to follow the procedure you just proposed that we work on language of the amendment in the coming minutes and hours, and then have a final vote on a revised version later, but there is substantive matters here when we’re working on the language, and I am still somewhat confused about the gentleman from Florida’s Constitutional concerns given that we’re not talking about American citizens.

Second, I am worried that if we include any kind of mens rea provision like knowing then how is the United States Government
going to prove what was and was not a knowing transfer inside the Iranian regime that has an ironclad grip on information. The
money may not ever have to be transferred, it may be provided directly from vendors or other people who are offering bribes to senior officials, to children, or spouses, or parents and so forth. But I am certainly willing to work on the language.

STOP TALKING ABOUT LAW, ASSHOLE. This bill doesn't do anything to the mens rea requirement — that is, the level of knowledge of wrongdoing required — for a criminal violation. The elements, quoted above, remain the same. If he's saying that there shouldn't be a knowledge requirement to be put on the Bad Guy list, then that's misleading because there has never been one. Entities put on the Bad Guy list can, and have, sued arguing that they were put on without sufficient cause.

Here comes Grayson again to make it worse:

When the government enforces this provision it either institutesa civil fine, or it institutes a criminal penalty. Every criminal defendant in our system is entitled to the Constitutional rights including, among others, the right under the Fifth Amendment to due process of law.

NOTHING IN THIS BILL SAYS OTHERWISE, YOU IDIOT. Nothing in this bill alters the process if the government wants to charge you with a crime for trading with the grandson of the Quds Force leader. It does not create a Gitmo for violators. It just changes who you can't trade with.

Mr. GRAYSON. If the gentleman is seriously suggesting that a grandchild of a high Iranian public official is subject to sanctions, including 20 years of imprisonment under our laws and our Constitutions, all I can say is that the gentleman is completely mistaken, completely and utterly mistaken. And, frankly, the fact that you would even entertain the possibility that we would put such people in jail in the United States, that we would imprison them in the United States shows that the gentleman may not well understand the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution and underscores my concern.

Is this what a stroke feels like?

Everybody Sucks

In conclusion:

1. Tom Cotton's 2013 amendment did not suggest that the relatives of Bad Guys could be put in jail without due process.

2. It is not entirely clear if Tom Cotton understood that.

3. It is not entirely clear if Rep. Grayson understood that.

4. Tom Cotton's amendment would have added the relatives of Bad Guys to the list of people you can't trade with. You can criticize that on its own terms — for instance, the impact of destroying the business of some poor bastard just because his grandpa is a huge murderous rights-violating bag of dicks. But whimsical definition of folks as enemies of America is a long-standig problem, made far worse after 9/11, and this debate doesn't clarify it at all.

5. This honestly is not rocket science. I figured it out and I move my lips when I read Garfield. Journalists report it inaccurately because (1) doing so promotes their narrative, (2) nobody expects more of them, and (3) they're lazy. YOUR JOURNALISM IS BAD AND YOU SHOULD FEEL BAD.

This is how our laws are made, and nobody is explaining it to us right.

  1. The subject of internet experts on the Logan Act is beyond the scope of this post. However: seriously?  
  2. Malpractice is a deviation from the standard of care. Since legal reporting is so relentlessly awful, the standard of care is extremely low. Maybe "malpractice" is the wrong term.  
  3. Unless you know the right Presidential relative, of course.  

Last 5 posts by Ken White

Comments

  1. Dan Weber says

    As someone who gives a good amount of weight to original intent, this whole thing makes me cry in my beer, as the intent could be non-existent.

  2. David C says

    Again, my conception of the due process provision in the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution does not comport with this amendment. I will vote against it if it comes to a vote. And, also, I hope that we do now have a provision in the bill that indicates that there’s severability at every provision in this bill if this provision is incorporated in the bill because I really question the constitutionality of a provision that punishes nephews on account of the actions of uncles.

    It does, in fact, punish nephews on the actions of uncles – the punishment being that no Americans will trade with him.

    Then Senator Cotton comes in and says "Iranian citizens do not have constitutional rights under the United States Constitution." Which is absolutely true, and if Cotton interpreted the previous statement like I just did, it actually makes sense to point this out. No comment on the rest of what was said, though.

  3. delurking says

    Wait, what? Congressmen often don't understand the legislation they are voting on? That can't be right.

  4. eddie says

    I think it's clear that Tom Cotton understands his proposed amendment.

    I think he was confused over just how badly the other congressidiots misunderstood it.

    I've been in meetings like that all the time, and it usually goes a lot like that. You say something reasonable, someone completely misunderstands it and says something insane, and then you spend the next ten minutes saying things that are barely sane yourself just trying to get them to shut up.

  5. Jamie R says

    Look, it's not like Senator Cotton is some big city fancy-pants lawyer who could be expected to know what's in the amendment he's proposing.

  6. Derailleur says

    I started a long rant about the lack of accuracy in journalism, and the ridiculousness of the not only his detractors, but the congresscritter himself not understanding what was proposed, and then I realized that it doesn't matter. The overwhelming majority of voters don't care. They will pull for Team Red or Team Blue no matter what, they don't really care what's actually being done or not done.

    We have met the enemy, and he is us.

  7. Castaigne says

    It's interesting that he used the whole "sins of the fathers"; he's showing very wacked-out fundamentalist Protestant roots there, as that usage has heavy religious significance in the…more theologically divergent areas of Protestant Christianity. One can read up more on it by researching through Seven Mountains theology, Joel's Army, and descendents of Rushdoony's church variants.

    The problem is that this is less of a legal thing and more of a Godlaw thing.

  8. Vorkon says

    I'm also not understanding what Sen. Cotton is supposed to have done wrong here. It's fairly clear that he understands the bill, and just isn't comprehending how thoroughly confused the people questioning it are.

    Even the line about mens rea, while it's a little bit of a tangent, (and going off on tangents tends to be counterproductive when the person you're debating doesn't even understand the basic premises you're discussing in the first place) makes perfect sense in context. He's saying to Grayson and Castro, "Wait, WTF are you even talking about? Are you trying to say we should include some sort of mens rea requirement on the Iranian family member before we're allowed to add him to the list, or something like that? That's stupid, we can't prove ill intent by someone in Iran. I'm willing to clear up any confusing language if you want, though."

    Like Eddie said, that sort of thing happens all the time. You say something perfectly sensible, then somebody replies to an insane misunderstanding of what you said, and before you can even get BACK to the sensible part, you need to clear up the insane misunderstanding. But you have no idea how they even reached the insane misunderstanding in the first place, or how to address it because it is so insane.

    I'll admit, though, the whole exchange would have gone a lot more smoothly if he were simply allowed to say, "Go home Senator Grayson, you're drunk."

  9. Ron says

    "This honestly is not rocket science. I figured it out and I move my lips when I read Garfield."

    Snarky lines like this are what keep me coming back day after day after day…

    Writers like you make the world a better place, Ken.

  10. Mu says

    So he wanted an amendment that only allowed trading with brother-in-laws and adopted children. Makes sense.

  11. DB says

    There is some confusion by posters here, although it's at a different level.

    The government prohibiting business deals is not punishment, under the constitutional meaning. Yes, it does "punish" the relatives of Iranian leaders by making it more difficult for them to do business. But that's not criminal punishment. It's merely trade sanctions, which does not require individualized due process.

    I do have concerns about this law. It superficially seems to criminalize trading with certain parties, without a clear process for knowing who those parties are. Are you criminally liable if you unknowingly trade with a front company owned by a nephew? What about one where the nephew is a warehouse worker? A salesman? A salesman getting a 50% commission?

  12. Pierce Nichols says

    Third-degree relatives is a *BIG* net; if you assume that each person from your great-grandparents on has a spouse and three kids, it's hundreds of people. Even if you assume that putting every third-degree relative of these Iranian nogoodniks onto the sanction list automatically is a good and just idea, this would have had a good chance of subjecting US citizens or permanent residents to sanctions.

    The reason is because a whole lot of Iranians left Iran for the US as a result of the revolution, and became citizens and had kids here. It's likely that at least some of those folks are related to the big-time nogoodniks of Iran. Which means, if Cotton had gotten his way, that those folks would have been subject to sanctions, and that looks a *WHOLE* lot like corruption of the blood, even if they would not be subject to arrest themselves. They'd just be unable to hold a job, rent an apartment, engage in any sort of business, or even to buy food.

  13. ChicagoTom says

    Again, this is a bill that provides for a prison term of 20 years potentially for people who violate this bill. The amendment that’s being offered doesn’t even indicate a requirement of knowing violation.

    It seems to me like Grayson is worried that people may unknowingly violate the law, by unknowingly doing business with "relatives" of official "no good people". He seems to be talking about a lack of a mens-rea requirement for people charged under this amendment (the amendment to add all relatives to the list). "requirement of knowing violation" seems to be referring to the potential violaters in the US, not Iranians. He seems to be worried about people with no criminal intent getting caught up once the relatives of Official Bad People are included.

    I don't know how these things work. Is the list publicly available? (How does one know who is on the list?) Will every known relative also be officially placed on a list where that can be cross-referenced?? Or will it be "So and so and his relatives and associates" placed onto the list. Or will it be that the gov't will just come and charge you if they get wind that you are doing business with someone that they at some point identify is a relative of an official no-good person — even if that relationship was unknown to you — the person now being charged.

    Are only people that are officially on the list forbidden?? If the government doesn't know about some great grand child or something and you are sending them gifts are you technically breaking the law?? Can they come after you once they realize they forgot to include said obscure distant relative?

  14. Trent says

    I'm surprised about your journalism complaint Ken. Journalism's been dead for over a decade and a half, it died in the 90's. (at least that's the last time I remember seeing a report present the facts without opinion). These days it's all about stories that generate clicks and viewership, and combined with "reporting" where the stories are pre-structured with the slant and opinion of the targeted viewer to enhance that viewership. This has resulted in journalism dying a LONG time ago.

    These days we have a station or two that are either controlled completely or structured to appeal to one political party and the rest just trying to get viewers with whatever type of porn draws them in (disaster porn, plan crash porn, crime porn, shark porn, obama porn, etc). Hell CNN ran a constant two week story on a plane that disappeared where other than the disappearance there wasn't any new facts, all because it generated ratings.

    Journalism died a long time ago, not much sense in complaining about it now. You can get better fact based reporting from blogs these days than you can from major news organizations, but there are almost no sources that just present the facts these days. All "news" comes with a heaping helping of opinion regardless of source.

  15. Whey Standard says

    David C.

    I would like to point out, many of the provisions of the Constitution do apply to non-citizens, including Iranian Citizens. This is particularly true on US soil.

  16. Ad hoc pseudonym says

    Somewhat off-topic, I've been wondering about something for a couple of years. I'm assuming that this bit of OFAC (PDF) is still in "force."

    Now, suppose that a U.S. citizen contracts with a company in the, say, 120°–140° east longitude vicinity to assist authors whose journal submissions may need quite a bit of work to be readily parsed by a native English speaker. Not rewrites, mind you, but not the sort of mindless crap that passes for copy editing most of the time. It can include a couple of rounds in which concepts are clarified, thus making it pretty much off-limits as "collaborative" for a U.S. publisher.

    An Iranian author submits to the service bureau, which solicits the U.S. contractor. The author would pay the bureau, who take a cut and later pay the contractor. Still forbidden?

  17. Dave B says

    I am slightly confused by the 3 degrees.

    So your paternal uncle is a bad iranian guy, so everyone (up to three degrees) would go on the bad iranian guy list.
    Now that you are on the bad iranian guy list too, someone could imply that this makes your 3 degrees of cosanguinity listable too.
    If you follow that line of thought, your maternal uncle is now a bad iranian guy too. And everyone is listable again.

    Seems like a wacked out way of playing 6(3) degrees of Kevin Bacon.

    If the creator of the amendment has problems explaining his creation and intentions, those who enforce or build on them could too.

  18. piperTom says

    DB claims (March 16, 2015 at 2:09 pm) that "government prohibiting business deals is not punishment". I think DB is an Iranian agent and his ISP is now subject to prison (and thus, he is himself prohibited from posting!). As Pierce Nichols points out, anyone on the list would be "unable to hold a job, rent an apartment, engage in any sort of business, or even to buy food." That's not "punishment"? !!

    Boblipton asked if this a bill of attainder. It's a good question. If my name were on a list, then I would be directly punished by being named. Bill of Attainder, it is.

    But then, it has been clear since the Japanese internment was approved (Korematsu v. United States) that the courts don't give a crap about the Constitution, if the violation is popular.

  19. Robert Q says

    I'm only going on the summary Ken so helpfully provided, so if there are other nuances in the bill or law not raised, my apologies, but to address some of the confusion raised by others as I understand it:

    1) There is still a knowing intention requirement in the actual prosecution section of the bill, so there is no concern that any persons could be tried/imprisoned accidentally, ie. that the person didn't realize the guy/company he was trading with was/owned by/employing a Bad Guy.

    2) "Degrees of consanguinity" is a ye-olde common law description of familial relationships (unless additionally codified statutorily, though I'm not aware of it), often used in estate matters when determining which relative is "closer" to the deceased if there's no will. Three degrees of consanguinity would capture the list Cotton described, and counts the number of "steps" one goes through by tracing direct parent/child relationships. Once you get to three steps, stop counting. So it would apply to my uncle (my parent, their parent, their other child), but not my cousins, because that is four steps. So for instance Pierce's suggestion of 3 kids at each generation if a great-grandparent was a Bad Guy is (3 children + 9 grandchildren + 27 great grand-children). Adding in spouses for each of them brings the "down-the-line" total to 78. You'd have to add in a few more uncles/nephews assuming the "3 rule" applied to that great-grandparent's parents, etc. So it would be a big group of people, to be sure, perhaps needlessly so, but it wouldn't get into several hundred (though obviously changing the 3 to a higher number would change that). Having said that, expand that over the hundreds/thousands of Bad Guy individuals (ignoring overlap), and you would still cover a healthy portion of the Iranian population.

    3) Related to above, as I understand it, the "6 degrees of Kevin Bacon" problem is avoided because the consanguinity applies only to an "official" – that is, someone holding a position in the government of Iran, not everyone on the Bad Guy list. If the nephew who was put on the list just runs a bakery, his familial relations (other than his parents and uncle who would already be named) would not get added to the list as well, because he's not an official to whom the consanguinity extension applies.

    Just my two (three?) cents.

  20. Joe says

    It's easy to be wrong about the law, but it takes a Harvard or Yale educated lawyer to make it that complicated and impenetrable.

  21. melK says

    So let me see if I've got this Consanguinity thing right…

    Because my Uncle is on the Bad Guy list, I'm under sanctions. But my half-brother from my mom's earlier marriage is okay to trade with?

  22. albert says

    "We gonna jump down, spin around,
    Pick a bale of cotton,
    Gonna jump down, spin around,
    Pick a bale a day..
    Oh lordy, pick a bale of cotton,
    Pick a bale a day…" HEY!

  23. Robert Q says

    As if no one ever faced trumped up charges?

    I think I actually meant to take out "tried" before hitting "post", as of course people could get tried all the time. As for imprisoned, well of course the entire bill (like any other criminal charge) is subject to the Clark-Popehat Axiom: "All laws are bullshit and government should be burned to the ground".

  24. Trent says

    And people wonder why the US code is hundreds of thousands of pages. It's a law like this. Yes Iranian members of the Quds force could get their grandkids to buy stuff for them. But on that same token any Iranian could be ordered by the Quds force to buy those items and give it to the government. This is a group that's essentially the combination of the military, police and intelligence agencies (Army, Navy, Airforce, FBI, CIA and NSA) wrapped into one.The Quds force has essentially unlimited authority only restricted by the Ayatollah. They even run their own prisons.

    If congress want to stop everyone going around sanctions they need to put all of Iran and much of the middle east and other countries on the list as well because their are people in China, India and Qatar helping them violate sanctions. Or we could just admit, that like the war on drugs, or any other situation that creates a black market that these type of things don't work. They do raise the cost a minor amount but the reality is they can still get the stuff through middlemen that aren't even Iranian.

    I wish we'd stop trying to police the world.

  25. NickM says

    Tom Cotton is a Harvard-trained lawyer. So is Alan Grayson.

    You forgot conclusion 6: Harvard sucks.

  26. says

    There you go again, making sense when it is not your turn to make sense.

    By the way, I believe that if this amendment were adopted and applied to Al Qaeda (I don't know whether it applies to non-state actors), it would bar the United States from trading with most of the construction firms in Saudi Arabia. The bin Laden family still is the largest.

  27. Rick says

    This is how our laws are made

    That is the saddest line in this missive.

    And who knew we had Klingons in the Federal Government?

  28. Careless says

    It's interesting that he used the whole "sins of the fathers"; he's showing very wacked-out fundamentalist Protestant roots there

    Or, you know, that he's familiar with English as commonly spoken by Americans and used a phrase in common usage. But probably safer just to assume crazy religious beliefs.

  29. jdgalt says

    I'm surprised that nobody has said this yet — but the constitutional clause you quoted doesn't apply here, because the proposed law would not punish those relatives for treason, or for anything else. It would simply include them in a list of people that you and I must not trade with, lest it help a country that, in Congress' opinion, is committing conduct that deserves economic sanctions.

    Suppose, instead, Congress were considering a simple sanctions bill that blocked only trade with the citizens and residents of Iran. I fail to see how that bill would be any better from a moral standpoint than this one, since that "bad guy list," is also a large set of people, the vast majority of whom are innocent. Can someone tell me why this difference makes any difference?

  30. hydroencephalitis says

    Mr. GRAYSON. If the gentleman is seriously suggesting that a grandchild of a high Iranian public official is subject to sanctions, including 20 years of imprisonment under our laws and our Constitutions, all I can say is that the gentleman is completely mistaken, completely and utterly mistaken. And, frankly, the fact that you would even entertain the possibility that we would put such people in jail in the United States, that we would imprison them in the United States shows that the gentleman may not well understand the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution and underscores my concern.

    No, of course foreign people wouldn't be summarily jailed in the United States under dubious charges. That's what Gitmo and the CIA's black sites are for.

  31. babaganusz says

    STOP TALKING ABOUT LAW, ASSHOLE.

    an exquisite contrast to your standard nuance-to-choke-a-mule mode. bravo, good sir.
    how many times might someone spam this (a) here or (b) interwebs-hole of your choosing on which to hypothesize, before conclusively attracting the hammer?

    purely out of curiosity (I swear upon every grave, urn, harvested organ, sword hilt containing a thumb bone, et al. of my ancestors and descendants).