Rep. Lance Gooden has introduced legislation that would allow U.S. citizens to seize the yachts, jets, and other property belonging to Russian oligarchs who have been sanctioned in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
Privateering is essentially legal piracy. In the age of sail, it was common for nations to issue letters of marque licensing private citizens to raid the shipping of enemy nations. The practice died down in the 19th Century with the Paris Declaration of 1856 outlawing privateers. However, the United States never signed the Paris Declaration, and Article I of the Constitution gives Congress the power to issue letters of marque. [...]
"Privateers in history are for when you don't have enough forces," Singer told the Signal via email. "Today, the U.S. Navy has no problem finding or seizing these yachts if it so wanted." Indeed, privateers seem even more unnecessary when the navies and coast guards of the various allied countries that have joined the United States in sanctioning Russia.
Furthermore, privateers are typically reserved for war, and setting them loose on Russian oligarchs could spark a broader conflict between the United States and Russia. "While Ukraine is at war with Russia, we are not."
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