Thomas Paine: American Philosopher, Political Activist & Revolutionary
From 1776 through the formation of The Constitution I helped create America. Now I have returned to help save America. Please join my Facebook group American Patriots in a free and open discussion to further our cause.
Before doing, or even suggesting anything, we must be mindful of these statutes and respect the law at all times, but we must also know our rights and the First Amendment guarantees the right of any citizen, or any group of citizens, to “peaceably assemble”, and to petition the government without fear of prosecution. The following statutes have been copied verbatim as they are described by the Cornell School of Law. It is wise to avoid doing anything that could be classified as a violation of these codes.
18 U.S. Code § 2101 – Riots
(a)Whoever travels in interstate or foreign commerce or uses any facility of interstate or foreign commerce, including, but not limited to, the mail, telegraph, telephone, radio, or television, with intent—
(1) to incite a riot; or
(2) to organize, promote, encourage, participate in, or carry on a riot; or
(3) to commit any act of violence in furtherance of a riot; or
(4) to aid or abet any person in inciting or participating in or carrying on a riot or committing any act of violence in furtherance of a riot; and who either during the course of any such travel or use or thereafter performs or attempts to perform any other overt act for any purpose specified in subparagraph (A), (B), (C), or (D) of this paragraph— Shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
(b) In any prosecution under this section, proof that a defendant engaged or attempted to engage in one or more of the overt acts described in subparagraph (A), (B), (C), or (D) of paragraph (1) of subsection (a) and (1) has traveled in interstate or foreign commerce, or (2) has use of or used any facility of interstate or foreign commerce, including but not limited to, mail, telegraph, telephone, radio, or television, to communicate with or broadcast to any person or group of persons prior to such overt acts, such travel or use shall be admissible proof to establish that such defendant traveled in or used such facility of interstate or foreign commerce.
(c) A judgment of conviction or acquittal on the merits under the laws of any State shall be a bar to any prosecution hereunder for the same act or acts.
(d) Whenever, in the opinion of the Attorney General or of the appropriate officer of the Department of Justice charged by law or under the instructions of the Attorney General with authority to act, any person shall have violated this chapter, the Department shall proceed as speedily as possible with a prosecution of such person hereunder and with any appeal which may lie from any decision adverse to the Government resulting from such prosecution.
(e) Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to make it unlawful for any person to travel in, or use any facility of, interstate or foreign commerce for the purpose of pursuing the legitimate objectives of organized labor, through orderly and lawful means.
(f) Nothing in this section shall be construed as indicating an intent on the part of Congress to prevent any State, any possession or Commonwealth of the United States, or the District of Columbia, from exercising jurisdiction over any offense over which it would have jurisdiction in the absence of this section; nor shall anything in this section be construed as depriving State and local law enforcement authorities of responsibility for prosecuting acts that may be violations of this section and that are violations of State and local law.
(Added Pub. L. 90–284, title I, § 104(a), Apr. 11, 1968, 82 Stat. 75; amended Pub. L. 99–386, title I, § 106, Aug. 22, 1986, 100 Stat. 822; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(L), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147; Pub. L. 104–294, title VI, § 601(f)(15), Oct. 11, 1996, 110 Stat. 3500.)
18 U.S. Code § 2381 – Treason
Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.
18 U.S. Code § 2383 – Rebellion or Insurrection
Whoever incites, sets on foot, 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, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.
18 U.S. Code § 2384 – Seditious Conspiracy
If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, 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, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.
18 U.S. Code § 2385 – Advocating Overthrow of Government
Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or the government of any State, Territory, District or Possession thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein, by force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any such government; or
Whoever, with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any such government, prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates, sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force or violence, or attempts to do so; or
Whoever organizes or helps or attempts to organize any society, group, or assembly of persons who teach, advocate, or encourage the overthrow or destruction of any such government by force or violence; or becomes or is a member of, or affiliates with, any such society, group, or assembly of persons, knowing the purposes thereof—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.
If two or more persons conspire to commit any offense named in this section, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.
As used in this section, the terms “organizes” and “organize”, with respect to any society, group, or assembly of persons, include the recruiting of new members, the forming of new units, and the regrouping or expansion of existing clubs, classes, and other units of such society, group, or assembly of persons.
(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 808; July 24, 1956, ch. 678, § 2, 70 Stat. 623; Pub. L. 87–486, June 19, 1962, 76 Stat. 103; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(N), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2148.)
For a good summary on Defamation, Cornell Law School provides a webpage at:
To prove prima facie defamation, a plaintiff must show four things: 1) a false statement purporting to be fact; 2) publication or communication of that statement to a third person; 3) fault amounting to at least negligence; and 4) damages, or some harm caused to the person or entity who is the subject of the statement.
Different states vary in their anti-defamation statutes. As such, courts in different states will interpret defamation laws differently, and defamation statutes will vary somewhat from state to state. In Davis v. Boeheim, 110 A.D.3d 1431 (N.Y. 2014), which is a New York state court case, the court held that in determining whether a defamation claim is sufficient, a court must look at whether the “contested statements are reasonably susceptible of a defamatory connotation.” However, as the Davis court held, because the courts recognize the plaintiff’s right to seek redress as well, many courts have declined from dismissing the case for failure to state a claim, as long as the pleading meets the “minimum standard necessary to resist dismissal of the complaint.”
Burden Of Proof To Show Fault
Most states assume that a speaker who defames another necessarily has the requisite guilty state of mind. In Levinsky’s, Inc. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 127 F.3d 122 (1st Cir. 1997), the court held that in Maine, all defamation claims need showing of fault, which requires the plaintiff to prove that the defendant was at least negligent.
Actual Malice Standard
In The New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964), the Supreme Court held that for a publicly-known figure to succeed on a defamation claims, the public-figure plaintiff must show that the false, defaming statements was said with “actual malice.” The Sullivan court stated that”actual malice” means that the defendant said the defamatory statement “with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.” The Sullivan court also held that when the standard is actual malice, the plaintiff must prove actual malice by “clear and convincing” evidence, rather than the usual burden of proof in a civil case, which is the preponderance of the evidence standard. On this point, the precise language the Sullivan court uses is that the plaintiff must show “the convincing clarity which the constitutional standard demands.”
Privileges and Defense
Truth is widely accepted as a complete defense to all defamation claims.
An absolute privilege is also a complete defense to a defamation claim. Among other examples, this includes statements made by witnesses during a judicial proceedings.
In the defamation context, a qualified privilege permits someone to make a statement that would typically be considered defamatory, but because of particular circumstances, a particular statement made would not be considered to be defamatory. However, if the statement is made with actual malice, then the speaker will no longer be entitled to the qualified privilege.
Among other examples, this includes statements made during legislative proceedings.