A Congressman who Doesn't Cotton to the Constitutionby Will Grigg
May. 24, 2013
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Republican Congressman Tom Cotton of Arkansas somehow managed to graduate from Harvard Law School and take several oaths to uphold the US Constitution without studying the Constitution in adequate detail. Rep. Cotton has proposed a measure that would punish family members of people who violatedU.S. sanctions againstIran with prison sentences of up to 20 years.
As Cotton explained: “There would be no investigation. If the prime malefactor of the family is identified on the list for sanctions, then everyone within their family would automatically come within the sanctions regime as well.”
The sanctions measure itself is constitutionally illegitimate, since Congress has no jurisdiction over the military and economic policies of any other nation. Imposing sanctions is an act of war, and should only be done following the required congressional declaration of war. Rep. Cotton would compound that offense against the Constitution by imposing collective punishment – without trial – on the basis of kinship, rather than overt acts.
In other words, under Cotton’s amendment people would be subject to criminal penalties on the basis of what the Constitution calls “corruption of blood” – something explicitly forbidden by Article 3, section III of the document to which Cotton has sworn his allegiance, and for which he demonstrates contempt.