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The People vs. Barack Obama

That’s the title of an yet unreleased book by Ben Shapiro. An excerpt from the book concludes:

RICO provides that any person who is part of an organization that commits any two on a list of crimes can be prosecuted for racketeering, fined up to $25,000, and sentenced to twenty-five years in prison per count. Those charges include murder, kidnapping, gambling, arson, robbery, bribery, extortion, dealing in obscene material, dealing in drugs, bribery, counterfeiting, embezzlement, …

A private individual bring a civil RICO action would have a title like, “Ben Shapiro vs. Barack Obama,” not “the People.” The idea of getting the president through a civil RICO action is not new. The most visible of those who tried it is Orly Taitz, whose case languishes in Mississippi federal court.

The problem with invoking the civil RICO statute is that in a civil RICO action, the one bringing the suit must be individually harmed by the criminal enterprise. A RICO lawsuit must pass the same hurdle as any federal lawsuit in proving individualized and specific harm, not a general grievance common to everyone.

So while the book may sell some copies, and may spur a host of crank lawsuits, I don’t think it will succeed in removing the President (something a court can’t do in the first place).

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22 Responses to The People vs. Barack Obama

  1. avatar
    bgansel9 June 8, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

    This guy graduated from Harvard Law School and doesn’t understand how a RICO action works? Hmmm! Methinks he was too busy partying instead of gaining accolades at Harvard.

  2. avatar
    Thinker June 8, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

    I am certainly not going to read Shapiro’s book to find out, but it’s possible that it might be the author of that Breitbart article–Stephen Bannon–who misunderstands RICO, and not Shapiro himself. Here’s the paragraph that leads me to believe this:

    “RICO does not rely solely on the Attorney General to prosecute–and in Eric Holder’s America, that’s a good thing. Civil suits may be filed under RICO, turning citizens into “private attorneys general…undertaking litigation in the public good.” Americans become the check on the executive branch–and Shapiro argues for the changes to the law that would make such action possible against what he terms the “Obamob.””

    Why is Shapiro arguing for changes in the law if the private attorney general nonsense is already in there? Well, the answer is, of course, that the private attorney general nonsense is not in there. I think Shapiro might be proposing that the law be changed to add it and Bannon did not understand that.

  3. avatar
    Rickey June 8, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

    RICO provides that any person who is part of an organization that commits any two on a list of crimes can be prosecuted for racketeering, fined up to $25,000, and sentenced to twenty-five years in prison per count. Those charges include murder, kidnapping, gambling, arson, robbery, bribery, extortion, dealing in obscene material, dealing in drugs, bribery, counterfeiting, embezzlement, …

    A criminal RICO action filed by the government could result in a prison sentence, but a civil RICO action filed by a private citizen (or “private attorney general” if you will) could not.

    Here is an irony meter-shattering quotation from Ben Shapiro: “The idea of demonizing the other side as morally deficient is something that should be really out of bounds. But the Left has used it as its own kind of favorite tactic and the media covers for them.”

  4. avatar
    Comrade Fogovich June 8, 2014 at 3:17 pm #

    I notice Mr. Harvard-Trained Supersmart Lawyer doesn’t actually volunteer to be a plaintiff or to represent anyone else in the proposed legal action.

    This guy is not a birther at all, but boy he sure tiptoes right up to the line of birtherism. The point of the whole book is that we can get rid of Obama RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE NOW IMMEDIATELY WITHOUT DELAY BECAUSE HE’S KILLING AMERICA AAAAAAIIIIIIEEEEEE!!!!

    I love guys like that. But he got in trouble with the birthers for saying that Breitbart wasn’t breitbarted; he just had a heart attack.

  5. avatar
    Thomas Brown June 8, 2014 at 3:28 pm #

    These guys desperately want categories of “particularized harm” to include “the guy I didn’t vote for got elected.”

  6. avatar
    Dave June 8, 2014 at 9:21 pm #

    But on the other hand, since Shapiro is the big cheese at Breitbart, it seems likely that he read and approved the article as published.

    I would guess that Shapiro understands how RICO works. But Breitbart is an organization devoted to the generation of lies. A more likely theory is that Shapiro thinks these lies about RICO will be politically expedient, or anyhow will make him some money.

    Thinker:
    I am certainly not going to read Shapiro’s book to find out, but it’s possible that it might be the author of that Breitbart article–Stephen Bannon–who misunderstands RICO, and not Shapiro himself.

  7. avatar
    Benji Franklin June 8, 2014 at 10:07 pm #

    Thomas Brown: These guys desperately want categories of “particularized harm” to include “the guy I didn’t vote for got elected.”

    You have exquisitely captured the real essence of any of the ever-changing Birther objections to Obama’s Presidency!

    And it works the same way for them with any topic which needs to be turned against Obama:

    These guys desperately want categories of “high crimes and misdemeanors ” to include “Obama waking up, or blinking his eyes or other.”

    These guys desperately want categories of “criminal forgery ” to include “Obama staffers posting online a xerox copy of a crayon sketch of an informationally accurate Lego block approximate likeness of Obama’s LFBC.”

    And so forth.

  8. avatar
    Matt June 8, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

    Dave:
    or anyhow will make him some money.

    Bingo.

  9. avatar
    Thinker June 8, 2014 at 10:42 pm #

    That paragraph I cited says “Shapiro argues for the changes to the law that would make such action possible…” Why is he arguing for changes in the law if he believes the law already contains the provisions he’s advocating? I think the reference to the private attorney general stuff is a reference to what Shapiro would like to see in the law, not what he thinks is in it. I believe it’s an editing error. YMMV.

    Dave:
    I would guess that Shapiro understands how RICO works. But Breitbart is an organization devoted to the generation of lies. A more likely theory is that Shapiro thinks these lies about RICO will be politically expedient, or anyhow will make him some money.

  10. avatar
    Notorial Dissent June 8, 2014 at 11:10 pm #

    I think the word you’re looking for is ethics free opportunist! He is also a coward in that he would willingly see some other schlub try this and fail, but he’s not about to get his hands dirty trying it, but he’ll carefully cheer them on from the sidelines. Somehow this all doesn’t surprise me, anymore than the fact that they seem to ignore that the queen has already tried this and has gotten exactly no where with it, and rightly so.

    Comrade Fogovich:
    I notice Mr. Harvard-Trained Supersmart Lawyer doesn’t actually volunteer to be a plaintiff or to represent anyone else in the proposed legal action.

    This guy is not a birther at all, but boy he sure tiptoes right up to the line of birtherism. The point of the whole book is that we can get rid of Obama RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE NOW IMMEDIATELY WITHOUT DELAY BECAUSE HE’S KILLING AMERICA AAAAAAIIIIIIEEEEEE!!!!

    I love guys like that. But he got in trouble with the birthers for saying that Breitbart wasn’t breitbarted; he just had a heart attack.

  11. avatar
    Keith June 9, 2014 at 12:38 am #

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry…

    500,000 “Impeach Obama for Leaving an American Behind in Afghanistan” posters found behind RNC headquarters

    I don’t write ‘em, I just pass ‘em on.

  12. avatar
    Keith June 9, 2014 at 12:42 am #

    One of the commenters to the above article says…

    As someone clever noted, the current GOP is the Schrodinger’s Cat of politics. It exists in an indeterminate quantum superstate, and what it is for and against cannot be known until Obama declares what he is for or against, or he takes some action.

    That is just about the most accurate description of today’s GOP I can imagine.

  13. avatar
    Lupin June 9, 2014 at 2:00 am #

    I think it’s more likely that Shapiro understands all the points you guys raised, but just wants to make a quick buck on the back of the more gullible opponents to Obama.

  14. avatar
    Notorial Dissent June 9, 2014 at 4:02 am #

    Lupin is probably right here, but then we have the example of Orly Taitz to fall back on so nothing is a sure bet.

  15. avatar
    Lupin June 9, 2014 at 4:09 am #

    Notorial Dissent: we have the example of Orly Taitz to fall back on so nothing is a sure bet.

    Orly is indeed the outlier who destroys every statistical curve she might belong to.

  16. avatar
    Ohio River June 9, 2014 at 4:49 am #

    Prosecute for criminal acts….impeachment is something I don’t trust the RINOs will do.

    This is definitely a good idea. There’s an underground book out about the last option Americans have to save America and I recommend it ( http://www.booksbyoliver.com ). It’s a must read of what is coming next so I recommend it.

    Under the NDAA we lost due process, privacy etc. and congress, who passed it, no longer represent the American people. It’s the same issue that started the American Revolution (King George III).

  17. avatar
    The European June 9, 2014 at 7:01 am #

    I know that Americans don´t question other people´s faith.

    But when I read your quote of the day I have to ask:

    do you think it is more implausible that the Christ told a birther all what he reported in BR than that an angel served Mr. Smith with some inscripted stones ? When are you allowed to call BS on some religious belief ?

  18. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy June 9, 2014 at 7:24 am #

    The big difference is that in just a few months there will be an election where you (the American People) can replace the entire House of Representatives and good chunk of the Senate. The American colonies did not have representation in the British Parliament.

    Ohio River: Under the NDAA we lost due process, privacy etc. and congress, who passed it, no longer represent the American people. It’s the same issue that started the American Revolution (King George III).

  19. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy June 9, 2014 at 7:29 am #

    I wouldn’t have put that item up as the quote of the day if I thought it was reasonable. I put it there because it was outlandish. I am perfectly willing to make moral judgments on somebody else’s religious expression when that expression is harmful. As for the quote of the day, I think that this expression in the context of religion is putting lipstick on a pig.

    The European: I know that Americans don´t question other people´s faith.

    But when I read your quote of the day I have to ask:

  20. avatar
    Thomas Brown June 9, 2014 at 11:29 am #

    There is a direct connection between the mindset illustrated by the Quote of the Day and the “Revolution” cited by the couple who just killed two cops and an innocent civilian, orphaning their children.

    I’m just sayin’.

  21. avatar
    Dave June 9, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

    Americans certainly do question other peoples’ faith. We just prevent the government from taking sides in those debates. Or, at least, we try to prevent that.

    The European:
    I know that Americans don´t question other people´s faith.

    But when I read your quote of the day I have to ask:

    do you think it is more implausible that the Christ told a birther all what he reported in BR than that an angel served Mr. Smith with some inscripted stones ? When are you allowed to call BS on some religious belief ?

  22. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG June 9, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

    And in the case of birthers, it’s more like “We’re using the Lords name in vain, to make our cause seem legit. Its not like there’s a commandment against doing that or anything, otherwise King James, the man who wrote the Bible would have included it!”

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