I have a thing for weird facts and trivia. I’m sure that comes as no surprise to anyone. Because of this desire for information of questionable value I often end up with page a day calendars that dole out these tidbits. On Friday there were a few lines about Eubene Debs; the only person in history to run a presidential race from prison. He was a socialist, imprisoned for criticizing the government’s questionable use of the Espionage Act.
The page mentions, in passing, Warren G. Harding as the president he lost to, and that made me pause. Harding was president in the relatively recent past. Surely this law has been looked over and done away with, I thought. So, I decided to look it up, just to be sure. The law sounded too vague to be allowed to stand. It turns out that the law is still on the books. Used at least as late as 1983.
Now, I understand why this law exists. The only thing that bothers me is the gray areas. It seems to me like it could be terribly misused because of the vagueness of the language. Of course it’s possible that Wikipedia doesn’t detail the law in such a way that these worries would be dispelled.
Anyway, if you’re politically minded you might check it out. The Wikileaks thing is even mentioned at the end of the article.