The question serves as the RealClearPolitics headline for Charles Hurt’s column in the Washington Times. The Times’ headline is unambiguous: “Throw John Kerry in jail.” Why? Well, if you haven’t been paying attention, Kerry has been engaged in a bit of “shadow diplomacy” in an effort to save the gawdawful nuclear deal with Iran.
Well, now that we are all so whipped up into such a frenzy over anyone who might be colluding with a foreign enemy to undermine the free will of the people and hijack the American political process, we should certainly take a hard look at Mr. Kerry.
And if he sets foot back at the United Nations are anywhere else Iran’s terror leaders can be found, Mr. Kerry should be arrested and thrown in jail.
Oddly, the phrase “Logan Act” appears nowhere in Hurt’s column. That’s the Federalist-era statute that makes it illegal for private American citizens to engage in freelance diplomacy “with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government . . . in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States.”
To answer the question above: No, Kerry won’t be arrested. (Probably.) Not to say he shouldn’t be. But as Jeff Jacoby notes in his e-newsletter on the Logan Act (and other interesting topics) today, “Not once in 218 years has the Logan Act been used to prosecute anyone. Not since 1803 has anyone even been indicted for breaking the law. Plainly the statute is a dead letter.” Kerry could be an interesting test case, though.