Law and Order in Flux: Crafting a New Image for Justice in America

Were I of a more entrepreneurial bent, I might go into the statuary business. I would specialize in those statues of “Justice” one sees, or used to see, decorating the façades of courthouses. The old-fashioned, now deprecated models featured a berobed and blindfolded female figure holding aloft a pair of scales. The symbology, now on its way to the graveyard of discarded ideas, was simple but noble.  Justice was blindfolded because she was no respecter of persons.  Neither rank nor party nor sex nor ethnic origin would figure into her calculation of guilt or innocence.  She held scales to emphasize her devotion to impartiality.

Since those ideals have long since been superseded, my thought was to go into business producing new statues of Justice.  The figure could still be female, or at least identify as female, but it should probably be obese and sport dreadlocks. She—or “she”—should not be wearing a robe but rather a T-shirt and dungarees. Instead of a blindfold, this new figure of justice would sport a pride-flag pin and a WinBlue membership card. She would still brandish scales, but one side would be loaded down with affidavits, subpoenas, and indictments.

I expect I could do a brisk business with those new, postmodern statues.

At least since the excellent adventures of Robert Mueller and the Russia Collusion Delusion, I have been struck by the erosion of the rule of law in America.  As many observers have noted, that erosion is deeply implicated in the emergence of what has come to be called the “administrative state,” the essential extra-legal bureaucracy that, with tenuous accountability, actually runs the governmental machinery of our society.

The evolution of this new state of lawlessness can be traced back many decades and has a variety of fathers. The growth of the entitlement state, brilliantly analyzed by Christopher Caldwell, traces one source of paternity. Taking off from Caldwell and others, I had something to say about this development here. The bottom line is that, for decades now, the Constitution has had important rivals to its authority as the law of the land, something that has contributed mightily to the spread of lawlessness.

Then there was COVID, or rather the totalitarian, all-of-government response to COVID.  Leave aside the breathtaking assault on individual liberty that blanketed the country with economic ruin, forced vaccinations, and a stunning array of mindless social prohibitions.  The advent of this novel respiratory virus, dangerous to a minuscule part of the population, was also the pretext for the illegal bypassing of state legislatures in last-minute changes to voting procedures in several swing states, changes that may have played a decisive role in swinging the 2020 election to Joe Biden.

But mention of Biden brings me to the primary goad to the present state of our two-tier system of justice, Donald Trump. Trump was never supposed to be president.  In 2016, the people who made up the reigning consensus were convinced that he would be handily beaten by Hillary Clinton. They were disappointed in the assumption. And they vowed to prevent a reprise “by any means necessary.” In 2020, they succeeded, just barely.  Will they succeed again in 2024? Only a rash man would venture a prediction.

But what we have seen in the meantime is a cavalcade of lawlessness in the pursuit of their unholy grail of neutralizing Trump as a presidential candidate.  Trump’s own litany of legal woes provides the most arresting spectacle of lawlessness. Minions from Biden’s Department of Justice in multiple states compete to come up with ever more excuses to indict the former and possibly future president. As has been detailed in this space many times, Trump faces felony as well as civil charges in multiple states.  I and others have picked over this breathtaking exhibition of lawfare—here, for example, and hereherehere, and here.

The partisan weaponization of the prosecutorial power of the state is a hydra-headed beast.  It has swept up thousands of innocent people (along with a handful of guilty ones) in the fabricated hysteria over the January 6 protest at the Capitol—a protest, we now know, which was to a very large extent organized and choreographed by federal assets and Democratic lawmakers. It has identified concerned parents or pro-life advocates as “domestic extremists,” whose every move is tracked by the FBI. And of course, it has entered the names of anyone who has worked for Donald Trump on the modern version of a proscription list.  Their careers are ruined, and many are subject to groundless indictments. The case of the constitutional scholar John Eastman is only one of many, many instances of this abuse.

All this is becoming increasingly well known. But my point is that what seemed like hyperbole a couple of years ago now seems like a widely acknowledged reality.  The rule of law is inoperative in the United States.  With every passing day, it becomes more obvious that we live under a two-tier justice system. But “two-tier justice” is a contradiction in terms.  It is not justice, but a form of injustice.

The actual reality of “Our Democracy™” circa 2024 was given robust articulation yesterday by the commentator Mark Steyn in his conversation with Conrad Black. Both have had their celebrated struggles with American “Justice.” I note Steyn’s encounter here, Conrad Black’s here, for example, and here. The title of their exchange sums up the current state of play: “Conrad Black on the Dirty Stinking Rotten Corrupt US ‘Justice’ System.” The entire exchange is worth listening to, not least for Conrad Black’s uplifting prognostication about the 2024 election. But what struck me as especially memorable was his observation that “You can’t suck and blow at the same time.  You can’t steal elections and profess to be the world’s greatest democracy.”

Bingo. Yet that is exactly what we—and by “we,” I mean “they”—do and do with increasing brazenness every day. That is one reason why my embryo business suppling new-form statues for American courthouses might just take off.  The robust prosecution of lawfare, as distinct from enforcing the law, requires a new look and new symbols.  Why shouldn’t I be the man to run that concession?

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Notable Replies

  1. Justice has only one tier.

    In a tyranny, justice is to the advantage of the stronger. ~Plato’s Republic

    The Democrat Party-Deep State is the stronger until popular opponents like President Trump arrange for asylum in a red state, and simply quit allowing themselves to be led through a ruinous legal system like pigs with rings in their noses.

    If the federals do no follow their own law, why should anyone else?

    The Joseph Robinette Junior lunatic asylum has seceded from the Union. It isn’t going to let a little thing like a national election get in its way.

  2. Avatar for task task says:

    What about the great injustice that installed the Biden Administration and spawned the present ubiquitous lawlessness? America is now the chief Banana Republic among Banana Republics.

    The culprits behind the lockdowns, forced vaccinations, unnecessary hospitalizations, intubations and ventilator assisted respiratory support, in my opinion, should be judged in tribunals established by an international court of justice, such as was once done at the Hague because it will not happen in America. Only accountability will prevent the medical genocide that the privy insiders knew was a possibility and when, and as, it transpired, they never backed off but pushed forward even harder.

    Fani Willis managed to wash money through her prosecutor paramour and used that money to vacation with and yet the presiding judge still saw no corruption, theft, embezzlement, fraud, conflicts of interest or any crime propagated by her. She was allowed to enjoy monies she essentially stole.

    Somehow Americans are supposed to have faith in American Justice and abide by the rules that the Democratic legislatures, justices and executives always find a way around when it comes to themselves while they invent new novel ways to use the law to prosecute and persecute everyone that even third world tyrannical governments would be loathe to do.

    In 2024 Patriots either take back America Justice and prosecute those responsible for four years of injustice or we live under the shackles of tyranny for decades afterwards.

  3. Back when I taught high school history, every history textbook contained references to the Code of Hammurabi (1750 bce), but not a single one had reference to the Code of Ur-Nammu (2050 bce) which predated Hammurabi by nearly 300 years. And there is a reason for it which relates to today.

    Under Hammurabi, in the case of every coded infraction, the peasant class received a much harsher punishment than the elite class. Sounds a bit like today, doesn’t it? Under Ur Nammu, the elite class received a harsher punishment than the peasant class. Ur Nammu believed the elites deserved a harsher punishment because they should have known better. They were better educated and had greater advantages, and it was incumbent upon the leadership class to set a better example.

    Though it took a bit of time for the elites to curb Ur Nammu’s enthusiasm, once done, it has been the standard for 3,800 years. I suppose that archeologists a thousand years hence might look upon our current era as the time Hammurabi’s Code was ditched for the much simpler Code of the Elites. That rather being a list of infractions and two tiered punishments, it becomes a simpler code of “We Can Get Away With It and You Can’t”. Doing so saves much wasted time of inserting a wooden stylus into a wet clay tablet.

  4. The rule of law is inoperative in the United States. With every passing day, it becomes more obvious that we live under a two-tier justice system. But “two-tier justice” is a contradiction in terms. It is not justice, but a form of injustice.

    And so, not to wear out this quote to mere cliche, I am still forced to post it; “When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty.

    I guess my only comment is, will there be rebellion? And if so, when?

  5. I have often thought that the greater the responsibility (higher office) the more harsh the punishment should be. The problem we have now is only one side / faction is getting punished.

    That is why I have been banging the drum incessantly that there must be horrifically disproportionate punishment for the elites, the left in general, and the Democrats (top to bottom) in particular, including a large majority of the bureaucratic state. Oh, and we must not forget the foot soldiers who do the bidding of left.

    Creative minds can contemplate punishment options, but lets just say the “cruel and unusual” restrictions of the Constitution would need to be suspended for a time.

    Besides, the left is most certainly not restrained by the Constitution, why should we? It is suicidal to do otherwise.

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