18 USC 2383:

Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

The terms "rebellion" and "insurrection" are not defined. Is there federal judicial precedent that sheds light on the meaning of these words as used in this statute? More generally, what elements or circumstances are necessary for an act to qualify as an act of rebellion or insurrection?

Edit: The supposed duplicate question (What prevents the DOJ from charging Democrats in Congress under U.S. Code § 2383?) is different, and its answer does not answer this question. It explains that a particular incident is not rebellion or insurrection, but it does not enumerate the elements that must be present for an act to constitute rebellion or insurrection. In other words, it describes in part what rebellion and insurrection are not, but it does not describe what they are.

  • @phoog what do you mean? You asked how are these terms defined. The accepted answer explains that "interpreting the meaning of these terms arises in litigating insurance claims" and gives relevant case precedent. The question is not the same. But as the reason for closing says "this question already has answers" in the linked question. The answer to that question is broad enough that it answers your question, too.
    – grovkin
    Jan 7 at 1:12
  • 1
    @grovkin the answer gives links to resources that might lead to a definition of the terms, but it does not actually define the terms. An answer that says "go look over there for the answer" is no answer.
    – phoog
    Jan 7 at 1:20
  • @phoog actually it is the answer if a precise definition does not in fact exist. The references are there only to support this by showing that the case law has relied on the plain-English meaning of the word and has rejected giving a precise definition. And the answer itself starts out by asserting this... and then demonstrates it by referring to the cases. That is the courts have rejected opportunities to create the kind of litmus test that you are asking about.
    – grovkin
    Jan 7 at 1:25
  • @grovkin no, it doesn't say that at all. It says that the terms "have their ordinary meanings," but it does not say what those meanings are. It only says that Congressional excess and illegal acts by a public official don't count. Also, this isn't a question about insurance coverage, it's a question about criminal law. Different tests could well exist (or not) in the two instances.
    – phoog
    Jan 7 at 1:59
  • "have their ordinary meaning" and "case law has relied on the plain-English meaning" are synonymous. And both this question, the linked question, and the answer address in the context of USC 2383. So the answer already address it in the context of criminal law.
    – grovkin
    Jan 7 at 8:17

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