Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic

August 31, 2021 Comments off

       THE LEFT AND THE RULE OF LAW

By Stephen M. Krason

            We have been witnessing what can only be called a subverting of the rule of law by the political left in the U.S. and its chief instrument, the Democratic party. It is happening at different levels, from municipalities to the national level with the Biden administration.

            On the local level, in large cities district attorneys–many elected with the assistance of  George Soros’ money, which aimed to get arch-leftist district attorneys elected around the country –are refusing to enforce and prosecute violations of certain categories of criminal laws according to their ideological preferences. They are even foregoing prosecution of obvious, outrageous, destructive criminal acts carried out with political motivation that conforms to the leftist political and social agenda, as seen with rioters in many cities following the George Floyd incident. In Portland, Oregon, for instance, after one hundred days of rioting charges have been dropped in fully half of the cases growing out of it. Contrast that with the aggressive hunting down and prosecutions of the people involved in the January 6 incursion into the U.S. Capitol. Also, special –sweetheart–plea deals have been offered to the rioters but not to those charged for the January 6 incursion.

            Then, there is the question of the ongoing incarceration in D.C. jails of some of the January 6 suspects, even though they have not been criminally convicted. Some have not been permitted to post bail. There have even been allegations of physical abuse of some of them by prison authorities. The mainstream media and the Democrats–with the exception of two senators who decried the latter–have said nothing about all this. One can only imagine the outcry that would have occurred if this had been the case with the rioters–Antifa, BLM, and the rest–in Portland and other cities.

            Another part of this leftist-inspired undermining of the rule of law by public officials was seen in the charges leveled against the St. Louis husband and wife, both lawyers, for pointing guns at leftist protestors who invaded their property and possibly posed a physical threat to them. Self-defense, which has always been respected in our Anglo-American legal tradition, was disregarded for blatant political reasons. Realizing how outrageous the charges against them were, the governor of Missouri pardoned them. It’s hard to believe that would have been done if he had been a Democrat. (By the way, the leftist prosecutorial authorities did not press trespassing charges against the protestors.) As far as the Capitol intruders were concerned leftist commentators have routinely called them “insurrectionists,” which means they wanted to overthrow and take over the government. Such a claim is without factual basis and reeks of an attempt to twist law for political purposes. Actually, federal authorities have been careful not to charge any of the intruders with anything like treason (which, in effect, is what leftists making these claims are alleging).

            Consider also the contrasting views of the police, depending on whether they are called upon to stop the illegal actions of people that the left supports or opposes. So, the police were condemned for the George Floyd and related incidents and the irrational demand was made by leftist activists to defund them (some Democratic politicians joined them to call at least for cutting police funding). The George Floyd police were brought up on criminal charges and the one responsible for his death will probably go to prison for years. On the other hand, the Capitol Police officer who shot and killed the woman involved in the incursion, who was unarmed and apparently posed no threat to anyone, has not even been identified and was hastily cleared. That police action was a non-issue for the left.

            Then, there is the question of the two Trump impeachments. Both involved a twisting of facts and the law: one claiming that Trump colluded with the Russians–some on the left even said this was treasonous–and the other holding that his speech on January 6 to a large rally in Washington disputing the result of the 2020 election in light of the irregularities in several states caused the Capitol incursion. Apparently, free speech is unacceptable by a sitting president if certain people react to it in a certain way. Moreover, the willingness to so readily institute impeachment proceedings, and with seeming political motivations, suggests a further willingness to undermine the rule of law–in this case, the basic law of the country, the Constitution.

            Indeed, were laws violated in different states with the 2020 vote tabulation? In spite of the serious questions raised, the left and the Democratic party just ignored that–they didn’t even want it looked into–since they wanted their candidate to win. While the January 6 incursion can in no way be called justifiable, there is no doubt that it happened because of the belief of more than a few in the public that the election was not fairly conducted with the result that Trump lost.

            We certainly have to mention the obvious ignoring of the law and basically arbitrary legal proclamations by the Biden administration. The reason for the stampede of illegal immigrants at the southern border is obviously the result of its unwillingness to enforce immigration laws. Under Biden, illegal immigrants are often being released into the U.S. without giving them court dates. Often, they are just told just to appear at ICE offices and nothing is done to them if they don’t. There is hardly a question that the non-enforcement of the immigration laws is for stark political reasons: the Democrats want to let the illegals stay in the U.S. and then grant some kind of amnesty down the road and move them toward citizenship so they will become faithful Democratic voters.

            About arbitrariness, consider Biden’s proclamation of the extension of the housing eviction moratorium originally set down by the CDC as part of its emergency response to the coronavirus. Even apart from the question of whether something like the coronavirus situation truly constitutes an emergency, the CDC’s action was itself of questionable legality even though it was claimed to be justified by a Congressional rental assistance statute. Then Biden on his own and without any statutory authorization extended the eviction moratorium. One wonders if Biden by executive fiat has made the federal government the new arbiter of housing policy around the country.

            The most recent contrasting application of the law on the basis of political viewpoint occurred on August 12. A small number of peaceful picketers on the Capitol steps opposing the Democrats’ push to repeal the Hyde Amendment were arrested by the Capitol police after only ten minutes. This happened even though a week earlier a leftist Democratic Congresswoman and others were allowed to not only protest an end to the eviction moratorium on the Capitol steps but also camp out there for several nights. It isn’t likely a coincidence that the Democrats control both houses of Congress.

            In the final analysis, it is hard to conclude otherwise than that for the left, the rule of law–one of the most central and defining principles of a democratic republic like the U.S.–is simply the rule of politics. The left are not outliers in the American political landscape of today; they dominate one of the major political parties and shape the policies of our current national administration. This raises the deeper question of whether many in today’s Democratic party are any longer committed to sustaining the democratic republic that our Founding Fathers established. That would not be surprising, considering how so much of the American left seems today to view our Constitution and our heritage as morally corrupt.

Stephen M. Krason is Professor of Political Science and Legal Studies and Associate Director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and President of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists and a lawyer.

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