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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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