George Sarant

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Posts Tagged ‘Law

POLITICAL JUSTICE

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The failure of the FBI to file any criminal charges in the blatant targeting of the administration’s political opponents by the IRS is deeply troubling. The investigation is a sham, given that many of the targets themselves were never interviewed. As the Wall Street Journal noted “That’s like investigating a burglary without interviewing the burgled.” The Justice department is also stonewalling the congress, refusing to provide any witnesses involved in conducting the investigation. 

None of this is surprising. Apart from counter-terrorism activity in recent years, anyone who has ever had any dealings with them knows that, contrary to their TV image, the FBI essentially consists of messenger boys for the US Attorneys. It is not all that different than the relationship between the local police and district attorneys. 

 The US Attorneys are in turn political appointees, and decisions as to whom and whom not to prosecute are very often political. The notion that there is impartial justice at this level is laughable, at least when it comes to government or political activities. There is a frivolous argument floating around that other administrations have behaved politically as well. True enough, but none have been anywhere near as extensive as this one, which has clearly crossed the line in terms of blatant political calculation. Under Eric Holder the Justice department is driven by ideology more than the law. 

 Consider the ramifications here, whatever your political viewpoint. Sooner or later the other party will return to power. What if they behave the same way? If justice becomes a political process, based upon friends and enemies, then the legitimacy of the entire legal system is undermined. If politicians and bureaucrats can act arbitrarily according to what they want, believe in, or oppose rather than what is legally mandated, then the law becomes something of an afterthought, to be applied when convenient, and ignored when it is not. This is the kind of behavior used by authoritarian regimes. It only becomes a difference of degree between what is left of the constitution and a banana republic. These factors, along with extraconstitutional actions that are actually being applauded by radicals puts over two hundred years of law and precedent in jeopardy. 

Furthermore a serious abuse of power, by any measure, has been grossly underreported, with very little follow up and even less explanation provided about  this scandal. What happened here was harassment of political opponents, leaking of their confidential taxpayer data to political allies, lying to congress by senior officials claiming there was no targeting, then claiming it was only the work of low-level employees, and otherwise deliberately obfuscating what transpired. We are talking about the IRS dealing with taxpayers based upon political considerations rather than objective facts, thus undermining the legitimacy of that institution, perhaps irreparably. The seriousness of these infractions cannot be overstated, for if they were to become commonplace the constitutional system would be fatally undermined.

 This all stems from an administration that seems to be permanently in campaign mode, where it is quite effective, but disastrously inept when it comes to actually governing. International affairs are rudderless, and domestic policy is in complete disarray, in large measure because everything is perceived through an ideological framework. When the justice system is run this way it is simply no longer just. If the rules are ignored by those in charge there is every incentive for everyone else to do the same. Thus, political justice ultimately means no justice for anyone. 

 

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THERE IS NO PERFECT JUSTICE

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I did not follow or express an opinion on the George Zimmerman case for the simple reason that I could not form an accurate judgment without access to the facts presented to the jury. I also felt that this was a local case subject to local jurisprudence and did not warrant the extensive media coverage that ensued. But since it unfortunately garnered so much attention and raised passions on both sides some analysis is in order, particularly insofar as it involves the objective of achieving justice.

There is a basic problem with the position being taken by those outraged by the verdict, particularly when shouting for justice. But this entails a preconceived notion of what constitutes “justice,” for which there could be only one possible outcome. The belief is that Zimmerman had to pay, one way or another, with his trial presumably resulting in justice fulfilled. By any standard that is what it did, but for believers in this cause only one possible outcome could be legitimate.

Now if Zimmerman had been found guilty, that apparently would have been “justice”  in their eyes, ratifying the fairness of the process.  That this did not happen hardly makes the process any less just. One cannot call something unjust under these circumstances because one’s expectations were not fulfilled.  If the jury outcome produces justice in one instance it must all do so in the other.

However, those now protesting do have good reason to be outraged, because of the miserable job done by the mainstream media. The coverage was so slanted against Zimmerman that it became, in the minds of many, a foregone conclusion that he would be found guilty. The media wanted a show trial and very nearly produced one. Going back to the beginning of this incident, by the laws of Florida the local authorities found no cause to arrest Zimmerman. This led to an outcry, still local, until the media picked up on it. An opportunistic prosecutor (there are few who aren’t) then stepped in and charged Zimmerman with murder, in what essentially became a political prosecution and it appeared as though he was a goner, having already been judged guilty until proven innocent. But the prosecution was also inept, and if there was a case to be made, they failed to make it, and the jury made its decision based upon the facts presented, with more honesty and integrity than the “system” itself.

But the race-baiters and left-wing ideologues could not let such an opportunity go unexploited and so they have sprung into action. People like professional agitator Al Sharpton, who has also been a frequent White House visitor as well as commentator on the awful NBC “news” network, are now fanning the flames. It has rekindled a sense of grievance about the system being generally unfair to the interests of black people, who are powerless when faced with it. However there is a problem with this narrative. If anyone was powerless in this case, it was Zimmerman, who had some seriously formidable institutions lined up against him. The people out for his scalp were obviously far more powerful, given that they were able to get the government to go after him, from the top down.

So since the trial did not produce the desired result, now other avenues must be pursued.  We have the racially obsessed Attorney General  Eric Holder looking to find some way to bring Zimmerman up on federal charges, such as “hate crime,” and further pontificating on race even though thorough investigations produced not a shred of evidence along those lines.  But curiously Holder is quiet about several retaliatory mob attacks that have already occurred against innocent white and “Hispanic” people that are, in fact, completely racially motivated; fat chance the “justice” department will investigate these incidents. Most legal experts doubt he has a case and thus it won’t be pursued. That remains to be seen, when the facts are subordinate to the politics. Again, the reality of who actually has power in the justice system and in terms of government influence is obviously far different from what is being claimed.  

I repeat I am not a Zimmerman supporter or sympathizer, and had no particular interest in the outcome. What I cannot abide is the reaction to this trial, the media circus, and the talking heads on all sides making arguments that diverge from the actual case. What I can predict, based on first hand experience, is that the US Attorneys will make every conceivable effort to build a case against Zimmerman, because the judgment as to whom to target and whom to prosecute is very often entirely political. It is a fantasy to believe that these people sit around and objectively evaluate cases. Political calculation, in terms of whom to go after, and which to not bother with, is a common practice, and often a self-serving one. This entire case reeks of it, and the end result is that neither Trayvon nor Zimmerman can possibly get “justice.” If a human agent can make decisions regarding the legal fate of someone in a way that would not be applied to someone else the system is flawed. For the system is imperfect, sometimes produces confounding results, and sometimes lets people slip through the cracks. On the whole, however, it does basically work to the extent that any human institution can. Much of the time it produces results that appear to be reasonably satisfactory to an outsider, and justice is served to some extent. However, as with any entity inhabited by human beings, there is fallibility and no possibility of ever achieving perfect justice. No society can ever be completely just, no matter how good it is. For, as I’ve written elsewhere, in this life, the best you can hope for is some justice.

Written by georgesarant

July 16, 2013 at 3:56 PM

SHREDDING THE CONSTITUTION

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As I am preparing to leave on a twice-postponed trip to Cozumel I won’t be here for the vote on the Democratic Health care bill(s). I cannot recall a time when the constitution has been so blatantly ignored, in order to achieve, what the proponents of this travesty perceive to be the “greater good.” This is a terrible precedent in trashing the Rule of Law, which I’ve written on previously. The Democratic leadership of the House cannot even muster up enough votes to pass the Senate version of the Health Care bill. Instead they are resorting to an unprecedented maneuver, in which they vote on changes to that bill but “deem” it passed without ever voting on it and then the Senate votes on the changes.

It was a stretch to use the reconciliation process in the Senate in order to pass with only 51 votes for a major piece of legislation. But this is sheer lawlessness. The constitution clearly states “Votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively.” But with these maneuvers no single bill with all features will ever have been voted on in the House.

This is an unprecedented travesty, the consequences of which cannot be foretold. Once the spirit of the law is violated can it be put back together again? We now have the prospect of a major piece of social legislation becoming “law” despite the massive opposition of the people and the unrepresentative methods that have been used to achieve it. These are desperate people who put an ideological commitment ahead of the rule of law and democracy itself. Opposition must not cease, but instead be further intensified. The perpetrators must be voted out, the legislation repealed (although that will face a presidential veto), and further no funds be appropriated for it. It will also be subject to court challenges on numerous grounds and could also be overturned by the Supreme Court anyway. One way or another it must ultimately be undone. Truly this will not stand.

Written by georgesarant

March 19, 2010 at 4:14 PM

Posted in government

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THE RULE OF LAW

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The rule of law is a requirement for a functioning, cooperative society. Its absence results in tyranny and arbitrary government, or anarchy and insecurity. Under the rule of law the same rules apply for everyone regardless of status, so that there is equal justice, which engenders a higher degree of confidence that everyone will be treated fairly. By extension this applies to government action, although reverse discrimination has shredded this principle in reality. Credence is further undermined when the application of law is perceived to be personal, or arbitrary.

If legal rulings can be permeated on nothing more than “empathy” then there are no fixed principles, no common standards everyone can or should adhere to. We can all make the law whatever we want it to be, with no objective standards, as a result of the “relativism” of this theory. Courts are supposed to be independent, objective judges of particular cases. They should not make policy. The consequence of this is the loss of government legitimacy as any side can then make the law be whatever they want it to be.

The federal government has gone further than ever before in ignoring such niceties as a constitutional foundation for the actions that have been taken. A centuries-old body of law has been violated. By what right does the federal government take property from one group, i.e. automotive bondholders and shareholders and give it to another, i.e. the UAW? What legitimate authority can pressure secured lenders who in any bankruptcy proceeding are first in line, to step further back in favor of the union and take losses greater than they otherwise would have to bear? Creditors have effectively been shaken down by illegitimate government actions. By what authority is there a “car czar?”

A fundamental barrier has been broken; the government can now act without due process. How does this differ from the state capitalism in China or Russia? What of constitutional protections? It is questionable now whether the damage that has been done to the principle that there is a public sphere of limited authority, and a private sphere can ever be reversed.

Written by georgesarant

June 4, 2009 at 11:41 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

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NO COUNTRY FOR WHITE MEN

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In seeking out in advance a “woman” and a “Latina,” for the Supreme Court and thus precluding everyone else, the administration has laid bare the Democrats penchant for reverse discrimination. Judge Sotomayor apparently shares this disposition, in ruling against white New Haven firefighters who scored higher on tests but were denied promotion for affirmative action reasons. This is a cancer the liberals have inflicted on our society, playing identity politics, assigning everyone to groups, and creating group “rights,” while having the audacity to accuse anyone objecting as being “divisive.” It is in fact the liberals who have made ascription the defining characteristic of people and destroyed the concept of individual merit. Their strategy has been to organize and mobilize minorities and self-hating liberals against white people, for alleged “oppression” and “discrimination,” when they are the only ones practicing the latter.

Unfortunately this strategy also diminishes Judge Sotomayor. She may in fact be well-qualified, but that has been superseded by her ascriptive characteristics in the way that the nomination has come about, although she has also not been shy about referring to them throughout her career because in today’s America being a “minority” carries obvious advantages. However the truth is it is totally superficial. “Women” are not a united interest group that identify with each other so this is meaningless. On the other hand “Latina” is also meaningless. Most Hispanics in the United States are of Mexican descent. Sotomayor is Puerto Rican. What does this mean to Mexican, Cubans, Colombians, etc. –nada. “Latino” is a construct of the media too stupid to understand the differences among people and left-wing activist groups using it to shake down favors and advance themselves.

To the extent that Sotomayor believes that the courts make “policy,” i.e. letting their personal feelings and “experience” determine judgments rather than the facts of the case, she fills Obama’s primary criterion of “empathy” for a Supreme Court justice. Then the biggest casualty is the rule of law.

Written by georgesarant

May 27, 2009 at 7:11 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

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