List of Unconstitutional Laws

Discussion in 'Political Science' started by JoakimFlorence, Feb 2, 2016.

  1. JoakimFlorence

    JoakimFlorence Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2016
    Messages:
    1,689
    Likes Received:
    14
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I am going to start a thread devoted to trying to list all the U.S. federal laws that have been passed whose wording could be a violation of the country's Constitution. Most people have no idea all these laws are on the books, hopefully this should start an interesting discussion.

    To start off with, the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (1982), 50 U.S.C. § 421

    " 421(c) Disclosure of information by persons in course of pattern of activities intended to identify and expose covert agents.

    Whoever, in the course of a pattern of activities intended to identify and expose covert agents and with reason to believe that such activities would impair or impede the foreign intelligence activities of the United States, discloses any information that identifies an individual as a covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information, knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such individual and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such individualÂ’s classified intelligence relationship to the United States, shall be fined under Title 18 or imprisoned not more than three years, or both. "

    Potential First Amendment violation to freedom of the press.
     
  2. Mr_Truth

    Mr_Truth Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2012
    Messages:
    33,372
    Likes Received:
    36,882
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    The defense of the nation comes first and generally overrides the interests of the news media. In a lawsuit involving the constitutionality and application of this law to an aggrieved party the courts would have to weigh the interests of the media as opposed to those of the government. Disclosing the identity of a covert agent would likely jeopardize the safety of associates who are overseas and undermine security concerns which the government might have in such a venue.

    As an example, let us say I was a supervisory agent for the CIA and you were one of my covert agents in Russia during the Cold War. Assuming your real identity is hidden, if someone discloses who you really are, your friends, associates, fellow agents, and families overseas would all be in grave danger - the KGB would round them up, torture and possibly kill them. Then, all of the information we may have gathered would all be exposed and our security concerns all be destroyed. After that, the CIA would have a very hard time trying to recruit covert agents there.


    In a lawsuit of this kind the court would likely review all the evidence in camera in order to avoid public disclosure. This assuming the info is not classified in which case the info may not even be allowed into a court of law. See Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA):

    https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/secrecy/R41742.pdf




    Bottom line is, that while there may possibly be a violation of the freedom of the press, such interests will likely be over ridden by the nation's security interests.
     
  3. JoakimFlorence

    JoakimFlorence Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2016
    Messages:
    1,689
    Likes Received:
    14
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Yes, but it does create a potentially very slippery slope. Theoretically, an organization within the government could commit all sorts of secret crimes, and if all those involved were classified as "covert agents" it would be illegal for the media to report what was happening. This type of law could potentially even be used to prosecute people who report the crimes of "covert agents" to local government authorities, if we are to take the wording of the law literally.

    It's these types of laws with terrible wording that can be used by prosecutors to press charges. The question is, do you trust prosecutorial discretion? Why not just make everything illegal and let prosecutors charge whomever they think deserves to be charged? (Basically throwing the rule of law out the window)
     
  4. Mr_Truth

    Mr_Truth Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2012
    Messages:
    33,372
    Likes Received:
    36,882
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    You do raise some good questions notably the one about trusting prosecutorial discretion. The only rational answer one can give is that such legislation and administrative action can only be tested in court - that is, after the law has been created and enforced. If the court finds that the law or the administrative action unconstitutional (or if the court finds such actions constitutional) only then can it be said that the rule of law has been complied with. In a democratic/republican type of government that is the only alternative we have.
     

Share This Page