The Rule of Law No Longer Reigns in New York

New York, it was explained to me years ago by some cousins who lived there, was the capital of a country that didn’t exist. Everything there was smarter, richer, and better than everywhere else. This was true, especially, for the legal profession. The best students in my law school class wanted to work for the great New York law firms, where the lawyers were smarter, richer, and better than lawyers elsewhere. The Big Apple was undoubtedly the legal capital of the country; it produced the best judgesgiants like Benjamin Cardozo, Learned Hand, and Henry Friendly.

Not anymore. The May 30 conviction of Donald Trump on all but incomprehensible felony charges—following a nakedly political prosecution by a district attorney who campaigned on convicting the former president and a trial with rulings outrageously and inexplicably favoring the prosecution and against the defense—demonstrates that the rule of law in New York, if not dead, is surely dying.

There may well be dozens of reversible errors committed by acting New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, who admitted evidence prejudicial to the defense, who refused to allow the defendant to call a witness crucial to his case, who never made it clear to the defense precisely what the former president was being charged with until the closing moments of the trial, and who seemingly instructed the jury that they could, in effect, each find the former president guilty of committing different crimes and the judge would still count it as a unanimous verdict.

All these things, and many more, should result in a New York appellate court (if any such still remain committed to the rule of law and uncorrupted by partisan preference) nullifying the verdict against Trump. But that nullification may not take place until after the upcoming November election.

If anyone in New York still cares for the reputation of the bench and bar, perhaps a means will be found for some kind of expedited state or even federal appeal and this massive miscarriage of justice will be quickly overturned. The hope for that is slim, however. In the meantime, with what can only be described as diabolic glee, Democrats will attempt to disparage the former president as a “convicted felon,” and will do everything in their considerable power to injure and tarnish President Trump.

Sadly, there is no longer much hope for the rule of law in New York, and one can only pray that this is not indicative of the death of the rule of law and the Constitution in the rest of the country as well.

Yet, so far, whatever hasn’t killed Donald Trump has appeared to make him stronger. And the three other lawfare cases brought against him—the Georgia RICO prosecution and the two federal cases brought by special prosecutor Jack Smith—have probably been successfully put on  hold until after the election,

Trump is unpredictable and occasionally unguarded in his comments, but he has justice on his side here. Those of us outside New York—and indeed, any one truly still committed to the rule of law and the Constitution—should be able to figure out that his re-election is the only thing that holds out any hope for reversing the catastrophe now upon us.

Those who have abandoned legal norms to debilitate or incarcerate their political adversaries must be desperate indeed. The fabric of lies and distortions regarding Trumpthe Russia collusion, the suppression of Hunter Biden’s laptop, the impeachments, the Jan. 6 “insurrection,” the threatened dictatorship, and more—may be simply about Democrats clinging to power. It could also be their means of concealing almost unfathomable corruption.

There was a time, not so long ago, when it was a thrill to visit New York. The grandeur and the energy of that great American city was palpable and exciting. The disorder that now reigns there threatens to spread to the rest of our polity. Former President Trump appears to be the only person who could be able to defeat the malevolent forces behind this disorder. By recapturing the federal government in November, he might eventually check at least some of our current decline, and eventually even save his New York from itself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.