Invasion by euphemism

We await the arrival of the latest “caravan” of aliens from Central America proclaiming their intention of entering the United States unlawfully via our southern border. I believe but do not know that this would be what is known as an “invasion” under Section 9, Article 1 of the Constitution: “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.”

President Trump complains justifiably about the Democrats’ lack of enthusiasm for border enforcement. It is not entirely clear what the Constitution means by an “invasion.” See Seth Lipsky’s related discussion here. Regarding the president’s authority to suspend habeas corpus, see James A. Dueholm, “Lincoln’s Suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus: An Historical and Constitutional Analysis.” I wonder whether anyone has brought to the president’s attention the possible application of his power to suspend the writ of habeas corpus.

In his Life of Johnson, James Boswell quotes Samuel Johnson’s memorable adage: “Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” Drawing attention to the president’s power to suspend the writ, if I am not mistaken, would have the added advantage of “wonderfully concentrating” the public mind.

UPDATE: I see I am thinking along the same lines as Newt Gingrich in “The caravan is an attack on America — Stop the caravan now.”


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