Dear Mr. President, As much as Bill and Ted might wish it, the Constitution explicitly prohibits using the law as a time machine. You see, at the time the Constitution was written, certain supreme monarchs found it useful to pass laws prohibiting certain activities of people they wanted to punish, and then using that law to punish people for having done the recently prohibited activity, even though the activity was not illegal at the time the person did it. In Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution, the founders included the statement, "No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed." A "Bill of Attainder" is a law that makes someone guilty of a crime without a jury trial. And an "ex post facto Law" is a law that makes an activity performed in the past illegal even though it was not illegal at the time it was performed. In other words, "ex post facto Laws" attempt to use the law as a time machine of sorts, and our Constitution expressly forbids that. So if the memo or memos leaked by fired FBI Director James Comey were not classified at the time he leaked them, the government cannot subsequently classify those memos and use that new classification as a way to punish James Comey. Comey, as Director, was authorized to set the classification of material in the FBI. Most Excellent!
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Author of Thy King Dumb Come and Accountability Citizenship, Stephen P. Tryon is a businessman and technologist with extensive experience in e-commerce, a retired Soldier, and former Senate Fellow.