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Sen. Ted Cruz acts senate for unanimous consent to pass the Expatriate Terrorist Act. Sept. 18, 2014.

Legislation recently introduced into the U.S. congress which would strip U.S. citizenship from Americans who went abroad and joined ISIS in order to engage in jihad came before the full senate for a vote on Thursday, Sept. 18.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the sponsor of the bipartisan bill, reminded members of the senate that estimates of the numbers of Americans currently in Syria or Iraq fighting for ISIS “range from ‘about a dozen’ according to one Pentagon spokesman, to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s reassertion of about a hundred Americans fights with ISIS in this week’s Armed Services Committee hearing.”


Cruz asked the full senate for unanimous consent to pass the Expatriate Terrorist Act or ETA of 2014.

But Democrat Mazie Hirono, senator from Hawaii, rose to vote against passing the ETA. The reason Hirono gave is that the bill had not been vetted by the Judiciary Committee, and given that ETA deals with the important issue of stripping U.S. citizenship from Americans, it was premature to approve the proposed Act.

Cruz made two points in response, one temporal and one substantive. First, the senate was about to go into recess so that members could go back to their states for the campaign season. This means that the legislation will not be approved, if at all, for many months.

The second point Cruz made is that while the idea of stripping U.S. citizenship is a serious constitutional matter, it is one which has long been deemed constitutional and applied against American citizens who choose to fight for an enemy country against the United States. What the ETA does is simply extend what has long been a weapon in the arsenal for protecting American citizens from violent traitors. It extends the mechanism to also apply to those who are fighting with non-state enemies, such as ISIS.


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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email:


  1. I agree with Randyll and Oliver. Who's to say who's a terrorist anyway? It could be anyone. Just because you're sawing off the head of a civilian on television doesn't mean you're a terrorist. And even if that's a terrorist, its just too complicated to figure out where to draw the line between terrorist murderers and people who spit on schoolgirls. Its really all the same, right? Just a matter of opinion. Better to let the beheaders back into the US. Afyerball, I'd rather be endangered by a beheaded than by a judge who decides a case wrong. Wouldn't everyone?

  2. There are already laws on the books enabling the government to do just that. Plus there's the only criminal act mentioned in the United States Constitution — treason — which mandates the death penalty for treason. So Ted Cruz' grandstanding is totally unnecessary (as is Ted Cruz).

  3. The question is, will the government do it? Seeing as how they traded 5 top al qaeda leaders for a deserter, who has not been punished, while those terrorists have joined ISIS, and 'Chelsea' Manning getting a tax payer funded sex change, I doubt it. It's pretty obvious whose side this administration is on.

  4. This administration has quite a few advisors who belong to the Muslim Brotherhood. They, like their bastard child, ISIS', have the goal of a global caliphate. They have been working for it since the fall of the Ottoman empire. Obama is helping them out. He let Iraq fall to them. He helped Libya fall to them. Egypt told him to pound sand – they didn't like or want the MB – so he cut off their aid. He is actively helping them in Syria. Who is next – Lebanon, who are already fighting them? Jordan?

  5. Dan Silagi Whose intelligence did Obama use to capture bin Laden you left wing zombie? Obama wasn't even in the room when it was going down. He said he couldn't watch it and went to play cards with Reggie Love per Reggie's own words. We still don't know where Obama was when his ambassador was getting murdered until he flew to his fundraiser the next day. Then he lied about the whole thing.

  6. Obama gave the order, per the intelligence of the CIA, which the last time I looked reported to him, not an ex-president nor the ex-pres's VP. I'm no lefty, but you sure are a right wing moron, who can make preposterous claims (e.g. the Muslim Brotherhood advisors working for Obama) but can't suppy a smidgen of proof of their veracity. I'm sure you're one of those rectal orifices who believes Obama is a Kenya-born Muslim. Am I right or am I right?

  7. Dan Silagi If while hunting you set a trap and pursue the pray til it goes into the trap to hide and I come along and kill it… will you claim it as yours or should I take the credit for the kill. U of C? All you college educated moron left wing smartasses… Ehh waddam I gonna do with yous? Just laugh.

  8. Dan Silagi it wasn't Obozo either, it was our Navy seals. And while we're at it, talk about grand standing our POTUS stated numerous times that HE did it, He did it, and then they outed the doctor who gave us the intel, allowing him to be arrested in Pakistan. Not to mention putting our Navy Seals' lives in jeopardy by disclosing THAT information

  9. Sorry I thought we were talking about "taking credit" not "giving credit". "OBL is dead and Al-q is on the run". Look again, they're like metamorphing but not into pretty little butterflies. I don't understand how the subject is always about something else.

  10. @Manny: , it's none of your damned business, but I voted for McCain in 2008, and GWB in 2000 and 2004 (I did vote for Clinton in 1992 and 1996). The reasons I voted for Obama in 2012 are three: (1) He had Osama killed, (2) I can't stand Romney, and most importantly (3) Obama kept the Great Recession from turning into the Great Depression, although he was hindered at every turn by s like Eric Cantor and John Boehner. For that I give him a solid "B" as president.

  11. Dan Silagi Arif Alikhan, assistant secretary of Homeland Security for policy development; Mohammed Elibiary, a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council; Rashad Hussain, the U.S. special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference; Salam al-Marayati, co-founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC); Imam Mohamed Magid, president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA); and Eboo Patel, a member of President Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships. (Source: Who did you say again was a moron? Could it be you?

  12. Dan Silagi It's not who you voted for momo. it's what you think and say that we are discussing. "I can't stand Romney". Huhh, I wonder why anyone in US would dispise a hard working, intelligent, successful, g-d fearing man, with values, a healthy and incredibly large family, well presented PATRIOT. No patriot of the "Great US of A does and says and behaves and thinks like O-bomb-ma. Citizens can burn the flag and crap on it, much to my disgust. However, the person elected to the most powerful office in the world, in my book is not to even have a fleeting bad thought about my flag or he's done. By the way oatmeal brain, I voted Obama '08 and I've taken many showers with clorox since then.

  13. I can't stand Romney because he's one slimy SOB, who "harvested" corporations, skimming off the cream and firing everyone else. That, in my mind, isn't especially "patriotic." Now what's the matter, asshat, you have a problem with Obama building a coalition and attacking our enemies? Go to hell.

  14. George W. Bush laid it all out and gift-wrapped Osama to Obama. A Monkey could have ordered Osamas death. Besides it was a SEAL team that nailed Osama, not Obama (though he gave the order).

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