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Can the President Legally Break the Law?

“When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.” — Richard M. Nixon (1913-94)

Legal scholars have been fascinated for two centuries about whether an American president can break the law and remain immune from prosecution. During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln ordered troops to arrest, without warrant, and incarcerate, without due process, many peaceful, law-abiding journalists and newspaper editors — and even a member of Congress — in the Northern states. Wasn’t that kidnapping?

During World War I, Woodrow Wilson ordered federal agents to arrest people who sang German beer hall songs or read aloud from the Declaration of Independence in public. Wasn’t that infringing upon the freedom of speech?

During the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered banks to confiscate gold from Americans who had purchased and possessed it lawfully. Wasn’t that theft?

In the early 1970s, Richard Nixon used the CIA to spy on Americans and to frustrate the FBI’s efforts to investigate a burglary

Continue reading at www.JudgeNap.com.

Author
Andrew Napolitano
Judge Andrew P. Napolitano is the author of seven books on the U.S. Constitution, two of which have been New York Times best sellers. Judge Napolitano has been Fox News’ Senior Judicial Analyst since 1998 and he is nationally known for watching and reporting on the government as it takes liberty and property.