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Joseph Farah
Joseph Farah
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No U.S. Courts for Terrorists, Pirates


The party in power in Washington clearly seeks to treat acts of terrorism and piracy like the acts of domestic criminals. That's what Bill Clinton wanted to do when he was president. That's what Barack Obama hopes to do now that he is president. And that's what most Democrats in the Congress clearly want to do, now that they have controls of the levers of power in both houses of the government's legislative branch.

But not only is this policy ridiculous for practical reasons, as has been pointed out by numerous commentators over the years, it's also unconstitutional. If only our elected leaders in Washington would take a few minutes to read the document that gives them their very authority to govern!

I guess that's asking too much. In fact, the Congress and president have apparently never even read through Article 1. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution lays out the powers of Congress. These are very specific and clear — as is the entire document.

One of those very specific and clear powers of Congress is: "To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations."

In other words, it's not the job of the president of the government's executive branch. It's not the job of the U.S. courts or judicial branch. It is quite clearly the role of the U.S. Congress to define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas (piracy), and offenses against the law of nations (terrorism).

Now, I suppose Congress has the authority to delegate that power and responsibility to someone else. But that is an assertive action that must be considered thoughtfully by Congress and debated before the American people.

It should be clear to one and all that Congress is abdicating its responsibility and passing the buck. So far, I have not heard such a debate. Have you?

I guess the real problem here is that no one — not the president, not the Congress, not the courts and not the people — pays much attention to the Constitution anymore. If we did, of course, we'd all be a lot better off.

We must decide as a nation whether the Constitution still guides us, whether we're going to read it, study it, take it seriously and take it literally. If we do not, we are no longer the America so many men died to serve and protect. It's just that simple.

This is just one more example of how we're no longer being governed by the rule of law, but rather by the rule of men — something our founders warned us about. Now I'll challenge you.

You now know what the Constitution says about defining piracy and terrorism and punishing it. What are you going to do with this knowledge? Are you going to share it with your representatives and senators in Washington? Are you going to share it with Barack Obama?

Are you going to get active and raise your voices, so that even the most politically tone-deaf member of the judicial branch of government can hear them loud and clear?

Are you going to say no to bringing foreign terrorists and pirates to the U.S. for trials, where they undoubtedly will be represented by well-funded members of the powerful American Civil Liberties Union and potentially released into your community? Or are you going to keep this information to yourself?

I believe America can still see better days in the future, but only if we the people reclaim it under the framework of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. I hope you agree and take this challenge seriously.

To find out more about Joseph Farah and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



1 Comments | Post Comment
I have told many people, I think the most successful terrorist in history is the person they elected as their president. But most of them cannot or will not see past the fact that he ran as a democrat. The reason he did is that there are so many of them and there are very many of them that are just plain stupid. Their self made blinders won't let them see past the word Democrat.
Comment: #1
Posted by: gary
Tue May 5, 2009 6:15 AM
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