Who is a “Domestic Enemy” of the Constitution?

In Honor of Presidents’ Day

Oaths of Loyalty to the Constitution

Every American takes the same basic oath, whether it is the “Oath of Office” (Government Officials), the “Oath of Allegiance” (Naturalized Citizens), or the “Oath of Enlistment.” (Military).

The Constitution mandates that EVERY government official “shall be bound by Oath to support this Constitution.” (Article VI Clause 3.)

Every government official, except the president, takes the following oath:

 “I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same ….” (5 U.S. Code § 3331 – “Oath of Office”)

The unique Presidential Oath of Office is set out in the Constitution itself.

“I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” (Art. II, Section One, Clause 8)

Who is a “domestic enemy” to the Constitution?

Who is a “domestic enemy” of the Constitution?  The Constitution gives no definition.  There is no consensus among experts. Some people think that a “domestic enemy” is anyone who disagrees with their personal politics. At the very least, a “domestic enemy” is one who commits “treason,” “insurrection,” or “sedition.”

Crime of Treason

Treason: Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort … is guilty of treason…” (18 U.S. Code § 2381)

John Brown: Guilty of Treason

John Brown

One of the most famous convictions for treason involved abolitionist John Brown. In 1859, before the Civil War, Brown’s band captured the federal weapons armory at Harpers Ferry in a failed attempt to spark a slave rebellion. He was convicted of treason against Virginia and executed.  He was the first American executed for treason. (Interestingly, Col. Robert E. Lee, put down the rebellion.) (The town of Harpers Ferry, at the fork of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, is now a Historic National Park, and is worth a visit.)

“Tokyo Rose”

“Tokyo Rose:” Guilty of Treason

Many people were convicted of treason for aiding the Japanese or Germans during WW II.  One of the most famous was “Tokyo Rose.” A Japanese-America, she made radio broadcasts from Japan spewing demoralizing anti-American propaganda to U.S. troops.  (Many people thought that “Hanoi Jane” Fonda, should also have been tried for treason during the Vietnam War.”)

Crime of Sedition (Seditious Conspiracy)

Sedition: “If two or more persons … conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States …  [is guilty of seditious conspiracy] …” (18 U.S. Code § 2384)

1954 Puerto Rican Nationalists Attack on the Capitol: Guilty of Sedition

In 1954, pro-independence Puerto Rican nationalists stormed the U. S Capitol building, and opened fire, wounding several congressmen. They were convicted of seditious conspiracy and sentenced to prison.

“Blind Sheikh”

1995 Islamic Militant Bombings in New York: Guilty of Sedition

In 1995, the Egyptian “Blind Sheikh” and his followers were convicted of seditious conspiracy in the bombings of New York City landmarks, including the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

2021 U.S. Capitol Rioters: Charged with Sedition

Media, politicians, and commentators, labeled the Jan 6, 2021  “attack on the Capitol” and “assault on democracy,” as “insurrection.”

After the riot, the Joint Chiefs of Staff sent a formal letter to the entire U.S. military, reminding them of their oath “to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

The violent riot in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021 was a direct assault on the U.S. Congress, the Capitol building, and our Constitutional process.” “We witnessed actions inside the Capitol building that were inconsistent with the rule of law. The rights of freedom of speech and assembly do not give anyone the right to resort to violence, sedition and insurrection.”

On January 13, 2022, eleven people were charged with felony “seditious conspiracy” for their involvement in the riot. The mob stormed the Capitol to prevent, by force, Congress and the Vice-President from executing their constitutional duty of certifying the election victory. Several victims were injured, and the mob caused $1.5 million in property damage.

Over 750 people involved in the riot have now been charged with crimes. Most have been charged with misdemeanors, particularly “parading, demonstrating, or picketing” inside the U.S. Capitol. The who have pled guilty to felonies, have been sentenced from 2-5 years in prison.

Crime of Insurrection

Insurrection: “Insurrection” is a “rebellion against its government by acts of force or violence.”  “Whoever incites … assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, … [is guilty of insurrection] …” (18 U.S. Code § 2383)

Interestingly, Congress is empowered by the Constitution to use the U.S. military to suppress insurrection. (Art 1 Sec. 8)

President Jefferson Davis and the Confederates: Acts of Insurrection

Jefferson Davis

Thousands of Confederate leaders and soldiers, including President Jefferson Davis and General Robert E. Lee, committed acts of insurrection against the government of the United States.  The Confederates were ultimately responsible for the deaths of over 620,000 Americans.  But after the war ended, President Johnson and Congress issued a general amnesty to ALL Confederate participants. “With malice toward none with charity for all … we are to bind up the nation’s wounds.” (Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address)

President Donald Trump: Impeached for Inciting Insurrection

The second Articles of Impeachment charged President Trump with “inciting insurrection.

The House impeachment vote:
For Impeachment: 222 Democrats, 10 Republicans;  
Against Impeachment:” 0 Democrats, 197 Republicans.
The Articles were adopted 232-197.

Pres. Donald Trump

The Senate trial vote:
“Guilty:” 48 Democrats, 7 Republicans, 2 Independents; Not guilty:” 0 Democrats, 43 Republicans.
A solid majority voted for conviction 57-43. However, the verdict fell short of the 2/3 majority required under the Constitution.

Each political party accused the other of putting party politics above allegiance to the Constitution. Each party accused the other of being “enemies of the Constitution.”

Allegiance is to the Constitution, NOT to a Person or Party

In conclusion, our sworn duty as citizens and officials is loyalty to the Constitution and the Rule of Law, not to a political party or individual.  

Theodore Roosevelt: “Patriotism means standing by the country, not the President or Public Official”

“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.”

“To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.” (“Lincoln and Free Speech,” Metropolitan Magazine, May 1918.) 

Dallin H. Oaks and J. Reuben Clark: “Our allegiance is to the Rule of Law and Constitution not individuals”

“Devotion to the rule of law means that our preeminent political allegiance is to the law and the offices of government and not to the persons who occupy those offices. President J. Reuben Clark said it best:

“God provided that in this land of liberty, our political allegiance shall run not to individuals, that is, to government officials, no matter how great or how small they may be. Under His plan our allegiance and the only allegiance we owe as citizens or denizens of the United States, runs to our inspired Constitution which God Himself set up. So runs the oath of office of those who participate in government. A certain loyalty we do owe to the office which a man holds, but even here we owe, just by reason of our citizenship, no loyalty to the man himself.” (“Devotion to the Rule of Law,” BYU President Dallin H. Oaks, opening ceremony of J. Reuben Clark Law School, Aug. 27, 1973; J. Reuben Clark Jr. “America—A Chosen Land of the Lord,” MIA Conference, June 9, 1940.)

(See: “Seditious Conspiracy,” “Treason,” “Insurrection,” “2021 U.S. Capital Attack,” “Trump Insurrection,” “List of Rebellions in the U.S,” Wikipedia.)

(Other articles: http://www.londonedition.net)

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