There is a phrase that has been batted around lately more than a tennis ball during a long rally at Wimbledon: rule of law. But for once, it’s not the Right that is doing the batting. It’s the Left. It seems they’ve become acutely aware of the concept after claiming President Donald Trump believes he’s above the law due to his recent impeachment acquittal in the Senate. On top of that, the President has also suggested the Department of Justice look into the conviction of former Trump associate Roger Stone (and with good reason if the recent news around the judge and jury in his case are accurate). Now, the Left is on their outrage soapboxes demanding the President and the Right respect the rule of law.
As you might guess, I take the rule of law seriously, or at least seriously enough to write a weekly blog post highlighting the Leftist take on the phrase.
rule of law
What the Left thinks it means – following the letter and spirit of the law
What it really means – following the letter and spirit of the law even when it’s politically inconvenient to do so
The Left may have the trial lawyers in their back pockets (and their hands in the back pockets of the trial lawyers for that matter), but that doesn’t mean they have a healthy respect for the law. What they do have is a healthy respect for those who can create laws through rhetorical or contextual devices that judges who are already predisposed to agree with the outcome will allow to stand in court. From the bizarre arguments from Roe v. Wade to the more recent, yet equally bizarre, legal arguments requiring Christians to act against their faith to accommodate same sex marriages, the Left figured out how to get what they want without consulting the voting public: file a lawsuit! Then, it’s just a matter of crafting a legal argument so seemingly air-tight that no appeals court could overturn it and, voila, you have a law and the rest of the country has to go along with it.
Of course, once that happens, the Left demands everyone follow the letter and spirit of the law with no deviations whatsoever. On the other hand, if it’s a law they don’t like, they feel it’s morally justified to defy the law. Sanctuary cities, anyone?
It’s this duplicity when it comes to the law that rings hollow when the Left talks about the rule of law. The recent impeachment fiasco…I mean trial is a nice microcosm of this. Remember when the Left jumped all over Mitch McConnell and other Republican Senators to recuse themselves because they already made up their minds on impeachment? On the surface, it seems like a reasonable and legally justifiable position. Of course, that same argument could have been applied to Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and a whole host of Democrat Senators who had not only made up their minds to impeach the President, but made it a part of their regular communication with followers, constituents, and fawning media types.
And let’s not forget one of the articles of impeachment had zero basis in law, but it didn’t bother Senate Democrats enough to make them vote with the law and not with their party. But hey, party over country is a Republican thing, right?
If you haven’t recognized this Leftist tactic, it’s right out of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. They are trying to hold the Right to the rule of law (or at least the Leftist version of it) while ignoring it themselves, and until recently it was virtually foolproof. Then, as more conservatives and Republicans began to educate themselves on the Left’s tactics, they started to call out the Left and flip the script on them. Not only did the Right flip the script, but the Left flipped their lids, as well as their talking points, to the condition we’re in now. To use a more modern bit of terminology, we’re in the Upside Down.
Or at least some of us are.
Although it’s nice to hear Leftists take the rule of law seriously for a change, it’s based on the politics of the situation, not out of any core principles they have. In fact, the same Leftists going after President Trump for alleged violations of the rule of law were conspicuously absent when President Barack Obama took similar action on matters more pressing than a Tweet about Roger Stone.
This is where it’s important to take the politics out of the rule of law. President Obama violated the law on several occasions and many, including your humble correspondent, were justifiably outraged. President Trump, I feel, has violated the law as well, and only some of us are outraged. By letting our politics guide our decision-making, we can justify poor behavior for the sake of rooting for “our team.” But wrong is wrong, no matter whether we love or loathe the criminal. An eye for an eye may be a boon for the eyepatch industry, but it’s a poor way to enforce the law. It has to be enforced across the board for the rule of law to have any weight.
That is why Lady Justice is blind. Either that or it was an unfortunate recreation of a scene from 50 Shades of Gray, but in either case, we need to be absolutely sure we are standing for the rule of law in every case. Donald Trump isn’t my cup of Earl Grey (not of the 50 Shades variety), but I want him to be extended every legal opportunity I would get as an American citizen. The Left doesn’t want that, though. They want to prosecute first and ask questions never, all under the guise of defending the rule of law from the man they’re trying to prosecute. Call me crazy, but doesn’t that sound a lot like abuse of power? And, if so, where are the Left’s rule of law hawks on impeaching Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, Jerrold Nadler, and the whole cast of characters involved with the impeachment process? I’m sure they’re working on it, right after they try to impeach President Trump for something else that may or may not be against the law.
After all, it’s not like Leftists are known to be hypocrites, right?