The contrived conviction of Roger Stone showed that America has a profoundly serious problem with its legal system. The reaction to President Trump’s commutation of Stone’s sentence by mainline media, and former and current prosecutors tells us that the president himself is likely to be prosecuted after leaving office.
The roots of this problem lie in the politicization of American justice.
After the onset of the Progressive Era in the early 20th century, American law schools began to instruct their attorneys to apply progressive political views to the interpretation of the United States Constitution. The Constitution was no longer considered a fixed instrument for limited government, but a living document adjustable to changing times and circumstances. Just as the progressives came to dominate American higher education, so progressives came to dominate legal education.
Consequently, we now have a problem with aggressive and very political attorneys general, federal district court judges, federal prosecutors, and U.S. attorneys.
If you are a conservative, or a person of wealth, it is best not to fall within the purview of progressive jurisdictions, lest you be singled out for retribution. Not merely will a crime be found to pin on you, but you will be seen in the media to be representative of all that progressives detest.
Putative Republican conservatives like National Review Editor Rich Lowry and Special Counsel Robert Mueller have taken offense at Trump’s decision to pardon Stone. They seem to be unaware of the growing feeling that the Department of Justice, federal prosecutors, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are out of control. The FBI, especially, has a checkered history going back to the days of J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover collected “dirt” on everyone who might challenge him, and was feared by everyone in public life, especially those who drank too much, lied, or committed adultery. Those are surprisingly good descriptors of everyone above room temperature among our political classes. And, it appears, Hoover’s tradition of intimidation has continued into the present day.
The Judge who presided at the trial of Roger Stone, Jude Amy Berman Jackson, a 2011 Obama appointee to the Washington, D.C., U.S. District Court, is a liberal Democrat who in 2004, according to the Washington Post, “co-wrote an op-ed in the Legal Times, arguing that Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.) was the answer to the headline ‘Who’s Better for Lawyers?’ over Bush.”
With progressive ideology dominating her politics, she accepted the role of presiding Judge in trials of President Donald Trump’s campaign staff.
This blatant bias of those who administer our Justice system bears watching closely. For now, the trials and convictions of parents who sought admission of their children to prestige colleges are prime examples.
Two Federal Judges in the United States Attorney’s Office for Massachusetts, Indira Talwani and Nathaniel Gorton, are “hanging judges” meting out extremely harsh sentences to parents who thought they could bribe admission of their children into the “best” colleges and universities. Judge Talwani’s harsh ruling in the case of Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin has been followed by another harsh sentence by Nathaniel Gorton. Examination of these decisions reveal a very real problem as progressives dominate every aspect of American life.
U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Andrew E. Lelling, led an investigation of parents and others engaged in buying access to prestigious colleges calling it “Operation Varsity Blues.” That catchy name was first used by a film featuring Jon Voight and directed by Brian Robbins. It is interesting that a U.S. Attorney was familiar with a “teen” film produced in 1999. Born in 1970, Lelling is 49 years of age—too old to be a devotee of teen “pics”—and a University of Pennsylvania Law School graduate. Penn’s law school is top of the line with rigorous standards. Lelling was admitted on merit, not his “legacy.” But his explanation that parents who pay bribes to gain admission to prestigious colleges have committed a serious crime worthy of prison sentences smacks of self-righteousness.
Of course, Judge Lelling’s entire career has been in government service and Lelling, too young to have experienced anti-Vietnam war protests, was trained by educators who did. They believe that government service, not the private sector, benefits the public and that self-righteousness has rubbed off on Lelling and judges hearing “Varsity Blues” cases that Lelling brings to their courts.
Though we have read a great deal about “due process of law” and crimes of “obstruction of justice” by Roger Stone and most recently in the Impeachment of President Trump by the U.S. House of Representatives, it is difficult for political conservatives to believe that a fair sentence will be administered in any one of several Federal District Courts dominated by liberal-progressive Justices, including the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and the Southern District of New York. Massachusetts is another danger zone.
So biased are many of the judges and prosecutors in those federal district courts, anyone engaged in elective politics as a political conservative is well-advised to find another line of work, seek only state office, or choose any state other than New York, Massachusetts, or the District of Columbia in which to reside.
Never forget, the U.S. Department of Justice is a part of a vast administrative state that governs all aspects of the lives of American citizens and reflects the interests of the “deep state.” If you are a vocal critic of liberalism, mainline media, or the administrative state and you are identified as a Republican or worse—a conservative—you are at a distinct disadvantage in these Courts.
Roger Stone was convicted on seven counts including witness tampering and lying to investigators. That caused consternation on the part of President Trump who tweeted “This is a horrible and very unfair situation. The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!” Journalists, attorneys, and federal justices are appalled that the president would intervene in the process by commutating Stone’s sentence.
On the contrary, I think we have an attorney problem.
What can be done to arrest this development of judicial arrogance?
Congress could act by reducing the number of federal district courts, restricting certiorari of the U.S. Supreme Court, or by censuring Judges that engage in overreach. That will not happen, but there is some good news. The numbers of attorneys elected to congress has declined, physicians and medical professionals now outnumber them.
That reminds me, what did William Shakespeare write in Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, Scene 2?
Roger Stone in February 2019 [Image by: The Circus on SHOWTIME / CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons]