A Hollow Kind of Freedom

Earlier this month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted a pre-dawn raid on the home of James O’Keefe, the founder of the investigative journalism organization Project Veritas. The FBI was reportedly searching for a diary allegedly stolen from Ashley Biden, daughter of Joe Biden. The diary, which up until that point had not been authenticated, reportedly contained allegations of sexual improprieties within, and among, the Biden family.

Project Veritas had received the diary from an unknown source. After unsuccessfully attempting to authenticate the document, the organization decided not to report on the contents, subsequently turning the diary over to the police. At 6 a.m. on Saturday, November 6, the FBI raided O’Keefe’s home, handcuffed him in his underwear, and seized his cell phones and other electronic media. Less than a week later, the FBI leaked the contents of O’Keefe’s electronic devices to the New York Times, which is a defendant in an already existing defamation lawsuit brought by O’Keefe and Project Veritas.

Exactly why the FBI felt the need to conduct a pre-dawn raid on a journalist, then leak the contents of the material it seized, is unknown. O’Keefe was fully cooperating with law enforcement regarding the diary and was not a threat or a suspect in a crime. Instead, the predawn raid appears to be a blatant effort at intimidation and harassment of an investigative journalist who has repeatedly exposed the corruption of Washington’s ruling class. The raid violated O’Keefe’s First and Fourth Amendment rights and sent a strong signal to other journalists that crossing the Biden regime will have undesirable consequences.

Separately, in the ongoing saga of the January 6 political prisoners, on November 2 the U.S. Marshals Service said it would remove 400 federal inmates from the Washington, D.C. jail after a surprise inspection revealed the jail did not meet minimum correctional facility standards. These January 6 prisoners are in pre-trial confinement for misdemeanor charges—held without bail on the basis of their political affiliation. In some cases, prosecutors have claimed they are a threat to public safety because they are veterans of the U.S. armed forces. (Let that sink in—because they are veterans who served this country, they are being denied their constitutional rights.) 

The U.S. Marshals and civil rights attorneys are now conducting a review of D.C. jail operations after District Judge Royce Lamberth referred the January 6 prisoners’ treatment to the Justice Department for a civil rights investigation. Earlier in October, Lamberth had placed top officials in the U.S. Department of Corrections in contempt for routinely violating the rights of the January 6 prisoners. Lamberth accused the officials of denying medical care to the prisoners and preventing them from meeting with their attorneys or reviewing legal discovery documents. The January 6 prisoners have claimed brutal treatment from D.C. jail corrections officers to include beatings, withholding food and water, and punitive solitary confinement. 

Last week, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal court injunction against Biden’s vaccine mandate. Biden’s original vaccine mandate covering businesses with over 100 employees was the subject of a temporary injunction after Attorneys General from Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah challenged the statutory and constitutional legitimacy of the mandate. Following the injunction, Biden ordered businesses to ignore the court order and proceed with the mandate or face heavy fines. The decision of the court to uphold the original injunction was an emphatic rejection of the Biden Administration’s extra-constitutional orders. 

Out of Bounds

So, what do these three issues have in common that should concern every American? They are each bold demonstrations of an executive branch operating outside the boundaries of the Constitution. In other words, outside the law. The Constitution’s deliberate inclusion of a system of checks and balances was meant to protect citizens in cases precisely such as these, where rogue individuals and institutions operate under the color of law. 

The checks envisioned in the Constitution—inherent in the powers of the judicial, executive and legislative branches—were not delegated a specific enforcement mechanism beyond that branch’s enumerated powers. Instead they were designed for good-faith compliance by the various branches when the actions of one were determined to be unacceptable by another. If, say, the executive branch decides to ignore the decisions of the judicial branch or the bills and language of the legislative branch, there is no arbiter or mechanism to make the executive branch comply with the Constitution . . . other than the people. The citizen is the ultimate arbiter in any conflict or malfeasance by the three branches of government.

In America today, the various branches of our government often operate outside the boundaries designated in the Constitution. The executive branch is especially egregious in its assault on the constitutional rights of citizens. The president cannot legally choose to ignore the decisions of the judicial branch, or dictate who is allowed to work or receive healthcare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cannot dictate to Americans what they can or cannot do for Thanksgiving or Christmas. The Department of Justice cannot unilaterally decide to re-interpret the Bill of Rights and kick down your door because you are a scary veteran or you oppose your children being masked and indoctrinated into critical race theory. 

The investigative and subpoena powers of the legislative branch exist only for the purpose of conducting its enumerated responsibilities of executive oversight and legislative action. Congress does not have the authority to conduct criminal investigations or other fact-finding activities. It does not have the authority to subpoena the phone records, personal effects and documents of individual citizens and organizations not involved in activity subject to its oversight authority. The January 6 commission does not have the authority to investigate criminal activity under a pretext of legislative or oversight activity. 

The judicial branch does not make the law, nor is it authorized to inject its interpretations into existing law in order to fundamentally change its original intent. There is no constitutional clause to support the judicial activism in Neal Gorsuch’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County

Off Track on Purpose

These things are all happening now or have happened in the recent past. The danger here is that we now have a government run by and for the ruling class. For all those wondering how things in America got so far off track, it is because the ruling class is no longer interested in what ordinary Americans think or want. The political elites are not worried about answering to the voters because they don’t intend to ever have to do that again. 

The misery index in America is climbing, but the elite don’t care because they can afford to pay for $6-a-gallon gas, send their kids to private schools, and hire private security. The Whole Foods store where they shop will always have an ample supply of produce, milk, and the best cuts of meat. They don’t have to worry that the FBI will kick in their doors at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning or that they will be held in pretrial solitary confinement for misdemeanor charges. They won’t ever have to live by the rules they intend to force on you. 

The average American is living under an illusion—a hollow kind of freedom that collapses under the slightest pressure. What has happened to America, though, is partially our fault. We helped make this mess by failing our basic citizen oversight responsibilities. We kept electing the worst and expecting the best for our representation. 

Now it’s time to wake up, stand up, and take our country back. Quit electing candidates you know are lying to you. Stop putting people in leadership positions when they have absolutely no clue what you and the rest of working-class America have to deal with on a daily basis. Find some quality leaders who have proven themselves in other professions—in real jobs, not beltway consultancies—and put them in places where they can make a difference. Soldiers, cops, truck drivers, nurses, warehouse managers, whoever has that required leadership experience, get them into office or into institutions that impact our traditional way of life. If we don’t, we can expect the continued downward spiral of our way of life and the upward tick of the misery index. 

If you haven’t figured it out yet, you are the final check in our Constitution’s checks and balances. Get up, there’s work to do!

About Max Morton

Max Morton is a retired U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel, former CIA paramilitary operations officer, and a veteran of multiple armed conflicts, revolutions, and contingency operations.

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

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