Legal Question in Constitutional Law in Maryland

can i sue the republican party for treason, sedition, anarchy or any other reason for the government shutdown or impending default on the debt ceiling?

Asked on 10/10/13, 4:16 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman

Not successfully. To list just a few reasons:

* Due to separation of powers, the courts cannot tell legislators what bills to propose or how to vote.

* The definition of treason is very narrow and specific. This doesn't qualify.

* This also doesn't qualify as sedition, though that term is defined more broadly.

* Treason and sedition are crimes, not civil wrongs. Only the government can prosecute crimes. Private citizens can't.

* Anarchy is neither a crime nor a civil wrong.

* Courts should not take sides in political disputes, even if it seems clear that one side is behaving in ways that are improper but legal.

* The Republican Party is not legally responsible for the actions of its members, even if it approves of those actions.

* Lawmakers are immune from civil liability based on the performance (or non-performance) of their duties.

* With very few exceptions, only someone who can show particularized harm -- in other words, a harm that is substantially different from what other Americans are enduring -- can sue to challenge a law or government policy.

There are additional reasons, too.

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Answered on 10/10/13, 4:36 pm

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