Re: Brainpicking: constitutional effects of loyalty mods

Chris Fedeli (
Wed, 15 Sep 1999 21:47:19 -0400

Anders Sandberg wrote:

> [...]

> Now, the problem: the president and her cabinet may or may not have
> been infiltrated, congress may be more or less infiltrated, as well as
> the supreme court and most of the armed forces (one half of the space
> navy is provably non-infected). Of course, everybody claims to have
> avoided infection. How would the different sides handle this according
> to the constitutuion?

Everything would depend on the status of the president and the vice-president. If they are both uninfected, the president would be secure and could direct the military to start testing and confine the infected members of government until their autonomous faculties could be restored. If the president and the vice-president are both infected, the same situation would occur, only now the president would be directing the removal of the uninfected on the grounds that they were the infected ones.

[In either case there would still be the possibility of military infighting or disobedience, but that's outside of the law.]

The most interesting constitutional scenario is when either the vice-president or the president is infected. Let's say that Gore gets infected and Clinton remains clean. Gore, now an agent of the off-planet infiltrators, convenes the cabinet and tells them that Clinton has been infected and is unable to perform his duties of office. As long as a majority of cabinet members agree, infected Gore will assume the powers of president and control of the military.

Clinton would then have declare to the leaders of congress that he has not been infected and is perfectly able to hold office. Once he does this he resumes legal control of the government. Now agent-Gore (still needing the support of a majority of cabinet members) has four days to tell congress that Clinton remains infected and can not hold office. If he does so, power automatically reverts to Gore until congress can vote on the issue.

Congress immediately convenes and has 21 days to decide the question. By that time, the infiltrators will need to have gotten to two thirds of the members of both houses of congress - that's the vote it takes to find Clinton still unfit for office, leaving borg-Gore in power. If they can't get the two thirds in 21 days, then Clinton again resumes control.

> Would the non-infected armed forces be allowed to take temporary > leadership?

No, not legally. As foresightful as the founding fathers were, they failed to put a clause in the constitution authorizing emergency procedures in case of widespread mind control.

> What could the infected politicians (whoever they are) do to
> interfere?

They could attempt a coup, start an insurrection. But as long as the president and vice-president remained clean, congress is helpless.

The infected members of congress could vote to remove both Clinton and Gore on charges of treason, but they would have to do it quickly and illegally, leaving the door open for the president to refuse to recognize the vote and begin the purging process.

By its own precedent, the supreme court would have almost no authority to rule on this kind of emergency political situation.