Potential Abuse of Federation Power

USS Discovery Ship's Lawyer's Personal Log: December 2256; S01E05

I'm proud to report that Discovery has been integral in disrupting Klingon supply lines, saving the Dilithium refinery on Corvan II, and stopping a Klingon advance. But I still feel uneasy about how this whole thing started. Captain Lorca told us about Harry Mudd, a prisoner that was with him on board the Klingon ship. He said that Mudd indicated that Starfleet started the war when they started exploring. There are definitely historical examples of "explorers" who claimed to come in peace, but wreaked havoc. And then the claim for expanding our "liebensraum" seems to go hand-in-hand with to Starfleet's desire to "go where no man has gone before."1 It all depends on "why" we're doing what we're doing. It makes me wonder who is pulling the strings at the highest levels of Starfleet.

The Federation claims to enshrine democratic ideals and, presumably, processes. We aren't an Empire made up of one race, like the Klingons. The United Federation of Planets invites species and planets from all over space to voluntarily join, and take part in a democratic society. But, democracies have been usurped in the past. I hope that isn't happening now. I am here to interpret the broad permissions given to Captain Lorca and how his and the crew's actions fit within interstellar norms, but he has been given a lot of power, with little oversight.

Under Starfleet Regulation 13982, Lorca apparently has the power to conscript any person he needs into the crew. This is a pretty broad power, and it was expanded when he was given command of the ship and told that he had "fullest latitude to fight the war as [he] saw fit." He also pardoned the most notorious criminal in Starfleet history, and apparently suffered no effect other than a bit of bad will from other commanders in the fleet- and could easily lead to significant violations of individual rights. I approve of pardoning Lt. Burnham, but Captain Lorca wasn't elected and is responsible to no one about who he pressgangs into service. I need to have greater guidance about this issue, I wonder how far he can go...

1 See inter alia Christopher Columbus; Pedro Alves Cabral; the British East Indies Trading Company; Adolf Hitler; etc.


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