So I asked a question: If I became president by illegal means(bribery, murder, extortion), are my orders lawful after becoming president? Are those who follow my orders breaking the law?

Let's say I run for president. I have a billion or more to back up my campaign. Using my funds, I hire people to kill my opposition, or blackmail them by drugging and putting a hooker in their room. I have paid TV reporters who keep planting phony stories about my opponents. I win the election, but there is opposition/protesters/loud congressman-So I order drone strikes on everyone and their families, and tell my best general to black ops assassinate anyone else opposed to me.

Were my orders lawful? Did the soldiers who followed the orders break the law? And, what could be done if this actually happened?

People edited my question, then it was put on hold, because the edits made it "Unclear". What are you people doing?


1 Answer 1


The question had issues to begin with.

Note that putting a question on hold is not a rejection of that question. It means that the question still has issues which need to be resolved before constructive answers should be posted.

In this particular case, the question was about a hypothetical scenario which was quite far away from reality. Also, it has quite an opinionated and philosophical component (can something be illegal when the perpetrator decided what's legal and what isn't? Who has the right and ability to prosecute an autocratic ruler?)

As such it was not really a good fit for this site. There might have been a good core in the question (I suggested it to be "Do the US armed forces need to obey unlawful orders?") but that was not obvious from how the question was phrased. I could also imagine that the actual question could be how much a president can break the law before the election until their election becomes void. But we need your cooperation to find out what you actually want to know.

People tried to help this question by making edits. Note that this is part of the Stackexchange concept. When you post something on this website, you only have partial ownership of that content. People are encouraged to edit questions and answers to improve them. Unfortunately the edits still didn't reach a properly answerable question. So I decided to put it on hold until we have reached a consensus about what the question should be.

That process was unfortunately cut short after you deleted the question.

  • So because it was about a "hypothetical" situation, then the whole thing is rendered garbage, because you can't ask this question without some hypothetical thought. Will just leave it deleted to not offend anyone then. Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 15:12
  • 2
    @KingofNES - Its not just that it was hypothetical, it was also that it was unrealistic. Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 16:36

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