I like this federal law

Lawyers for two misguided patriots who attacked Capitol Police on January 6 and made their way into the building to impede the final counting of Electoral College Votes for the candidate who won the election argued their clients did not violate 18 US Code Sec. 1512 and moved to have the federal criminal charge under 1512 dismissed.

The lawyers argued that the joint session of congress was, for a variety of arguable legalistic rationales, not an “official proceeding” and that “corruptly obstructs, influences or impedes” gives unconstitutionally ambiguous notice to rioters who break into a closed Capitol building to merely stop the steal, because “corruptly” is a vague, overbroad and essentially meaningless word.

Federal judge Dabney L. Friedrich, of the DC District Court, was having none of this and wrote a precise and basically unappealable decision denying the motion. In 25 crisp pages she clarified why the law applied directly to the actions of two men who assaulted police with a variety of deadly weapons and forced their way into the Capitol to obstruct, influence or impede the official proceeding then underway.

As for explaining what “corruptly” means in the legal sense (and in the popular sense), she did so unambiguously:

In this sense, the plain meaning of “corruptly” encompasses both corrupt (improper) means and corrupt (morally debased) purposes. … The Court agrees that § 1512(c)’s proscription of knowing conduct undertaken with the specific intent to obstruct, impede, or influence the proceeding provides a clear standard to which the defendant can conform his behavior.

source [1]

It’s hard to think that this same federal law would not apply to an elected official who had been informed by the Attorney General of the United States that voter fraud claims had been exhaustively investigated and were “bullshit” and who nonetheless aggressively spread a knowing lie, organized a rally, and an unpermitted march (no reason to have phalanxes of DC cops on the route to the Capitol, which would have happened with a permit for a march, you understand), to corruptly obstruct, influence or impede the last official session of Congress relating to the peaceful transfer of power.

What do you think, Merrick?


Jennifer Rubin wrote an excellent piece called “A federal court has ruled that obstructing the electoral vote count is illegal. Trump should panic.” describing the case, the ruling and the potential worries for Mr. Trump and his most ardent loyalists.

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