Today in Supreme Court History

Today in Supreme Court History: May 16, 1918


5/16/1918: The Sedition Act of 1918 is enacted. The Supreme Court upheld prosecutions brought under this law in SchenckDebs, and Abrams.

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  1. I can think of a few more candidates to prosecute for sedition….

  2. I thought the Supreme Court cases from that period related to the Espionage Act of 1917.

    1. Details. details…. 🙂

      He at least mentioned the Espionage Act in the text, so I’d give partial credit — but I’d pull out my red pen and write:
      “Who won, and what was the score???”

      1. I’ll give them credit for getting the archival documents, but I’d have added this was a unanimous decision, and if I had the space, I’d have added that Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. was a thrice-wounded veteran of the Civil War — when there had been nasty draft riots.

    2. My understanding was that the 1918 act operated as amendments to the 1917 Espionage Act, extending it to speech and expression casting doubt on the war effort. I’m pretty sure at least the Abrams case specifically challenged the 1918 amendments to the Espionage Act.

    3. The May 16 Nobel Prize — for achievement in identifying failure in Today In Supreme Court History — is awarded to Eddy.

  3. Off Topic!!

    Does anyone know in 18 USC 1001 apples to FBI agents themselves?
    For example, if Andrew McCabe lied to another agent who asked about a leak, would that be a violation of 18 USC 1001?


    1. Does it even have to be to an agent? Why wouldn’t this cover lying to Trump himself? (E.g. Comey himself…) IDK….

      18 USC 1001
      “whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive… branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully–

      (1)  falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;

      (2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation;  or

      (3)  makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry…”

  4. The Sedition Act is probably the biggest example of Progressive tyranny.

    Kind of odd how a Progressive law was mainly used to imprison socialists. Shows how some things (Progressive tyranny) have stayed the same over the last 100 years, but other things (Progressive attitudes toward socialism) have changed dramatically.

    1. Doesn’t surprise me. The Bolsheviks attacked the Mensheviks just about the same time. Collectivism requires a monopoly on violence.

      Look at it this way: individualism can mostly simulate collectivism by contracts signing over property and income. Collectivism cannot even tolerate individualism, let alone simulate it.

      Yes, some collectivists will complain that contracts being voluntary negates them being collectivist. But I bet 99% of the people who want government charity and redistribution would accept that for their own case.

  5. A wise old judge said “The Constitution is what the judges say it is.”

    But then another wise man said that free speech and the Bill of Rights are most sacrosanct in times of calamity, strife, and war.

  6. Off Topic.

    The House recently passed a very…interesting…rule change that apparently will allow for proxy voting. Something that has never before been done for full Congressional votes. (Passing stuff out of committee is different, and has been done by proxy).

    Taken to it’s extreme, it now means that you could have 23 Democrats on the floor of the House, and 150 Republicans on the floor, and the Democrats would “pass” bills with a “majority” due to the proxy votes. (Apparently, according to the rule change, proxy votes also count for having a quorum).

    I’d love to see a legal argument about how this type of rule change may or may not be allowed by the Constitution, under article 1.

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