THE FOOL OF LAW
The Silvery Moon, Watercolor, 28" x 50", Richard J Van Wagoner, 1997, Courtesy of an Anonymous Collector**
I've said little about Trump loyalist Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III whose former Alabama senate seat will (likely) be filled by renowned constitutional scholar, Ten Commandments aficionado and gun-slinging white nationalist Roy “Bannon-Has-My-Backside” Moore.
Mr. Sessions, that preeminent legal scholar whose appointment as a federal district court judge failed senate confirmation due to his history of racism.
A guy who lacks capacity to comprehend an oath to tell the truth or doesn't care.
The guy who perjured himself about “that Russiar thing” during Senate confirmation for Attorney General of the United States, then tried to clean up his mess in clear violation of the Rule of Holes.
A guy who couldn’t recognize a conflict of interest if—and when—it spoke to him in fluent Russian.
The guy who vacated the room just as Trump insisted on loyalty patronage from the Director of the FBI as a condition, it turns out, for Mr. Comey’s keeping his job. (Mr. Comey, who seemed to understand the rule of law, at least in that context, declined Mr. Trump’s invitation to cut Mike “Lock-Her-Up” Flynn a break or to put a stop to “that Russiar thing.”)
Mr. Sessions, that guy who, after receiving a crash course in conflicts of interest and giving it mandatory Trump-style lip service, placed himself in the middle of an obstruction of justice investigation as a Witness? Subject? Target? over Mr. Comey’s termination for, you guessed it, “that Russiar thing.” Seems the DOJ’s evolving explanations for Mr. Trump’s firing of Mr. Comey were resoundingly silenced when Mr. Trump, in a one-off spasm of clarity, didn’t prevaricate.
Mr. Sessions, that guy who re-declared the incoherent, science-defying, disastrously failed war on drugs as a means to assure continued repression and incarceration of male minorities (as long as he possibly can), the annual deaths of tens of thousands of Americans, the further entrenchment and enrichment of drug cartels, and the repression of research and administration of the miraculous healing qualities of marijuana.
That guy who recently justified and excused Mr. Trump’s unprecedented personal interviews of candidates for United States Attorney for the District of the White House, for the Southern District of the NY Trump Tower, and for the Southern District of Palm Beach at the Mar a Lago. (For kicks and giggles you might want to look up who it is Mr. Trump is considering for those posts. Can you say “friends” of Giuliani and Kasowitz? Oh, and let’s not forget that guy Trump fired on the Apprentice.)
This, our Department of Justice, instills confidence in the Rule of Law.
I’ve posted a couple times about Mr. Trump’s likely obstruction of justice and what the Rule of Law seems to mean in his administration.
Who Needs Deep Throat. We have Trump https://medium.com/@richardvanwagoner/who-needs-deep-throat-we-have-trump-802daa826747
“I Am the Law and Order President”
THE RULE OF LAW
Generally speaking, societies function more smoothly when laws are written with sufficient clarity and definition that people understand what is prescribe and prohibited; when the law is applied and enforced evenly, equally, consistently, predictably and non-arbitrarily; and when no one is “above” it and all are accountable. Just laws fairly and uniformly applied result in fewer insurrections, rebellions and revolutions, and greater civility and transparency.
The World Justice Project identifies four important components to the Rule of Law:
The government as well as private actors are accountable under the law.
The laws are clear, publicized, stable and just; are applied evenly; and protect fundamental rights, including the security of persons, property and certain core human rights.
The processes by which the laws are enacted, administered and enforced are accessible, fair and efficient.
Accessible & Impartial Dispute Resolution
Justice is delivered timely by competent, ethical and independent representatives and neutrals who are accessible, have adequate resources and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve.
Yes, this Mr. Sessions is the chief law-enforcement officer of the United States, the standard bearer, the person the nation looks to for the exercise and display of unquestionable independence and integrity, the person required to remain steadfastly uninfluenced by partisanship, who refuses loyalty patronage to the executive and everyone else, a man beyond reproach. That person who exemplifies the Rule of Law in all he says and does.
Backed by unequivocal statistical evidence, Criminal Justice Reform has established that our Rule of Law (de jure), or at least the racist application of the Rule of Law (de facto), isn’t applied and enforce consistently, predictably, fairly, evenly, equally. Sessions is just the right person to preserve that status quo.
Mr. Sessions’ incapacity to understand the responsibilities of his office and its distinct role in our constitutional form of government goes further. During a recent Heritage Foundation event, he attacked “super-legislator” judges in a strong rebuke of the judiciary for “not respecting the separation of powers and the concept of co-equal branches of government while at the same time himself disregarding the constitutional independence of the judicial branch,” notes ABA President Hilarie Bass.
“’The judiciary rules on matters that are based on the laws and the Constitution,’ Bass said. Judges take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, not to protect ‘the prerogatives and perspectives’ of the executive branch, she said, quoting from Sessions’ speech.”
“’The courts are an important part of the justice system,’ Bass continued. ‘While criticism of judicial decisions is a constitutionally protected right of every American and embedded in our tradition of free and open discussion about government, judges should not be attacked or diminished by another branch of government just because they do not rule in its favor. Judicial independence is critical to maintaining the rule of law in our nation.’”
Indeed. Even though the judiciary remains a political branch, it has not exhibited the complete dysfunction on display in the others. One check/balance is still in place. For now.
Rather than exercising Mueller-like discretion, judgment and integrity as the chief law-enforcement officer of the United States, apologist Sessions continues to campaign for Mr. Trump and his mean-spirited, white-nationalist agenda. Sad.
*My brother the fiction writer and novelist, Robert Hodgson Van Wagoner, deserves considerable credit for offering both substantive and technical suggestions to lastamendment.com
**My daughter Angela Moore, a professional photographer, photographed nearly 500 pieces of my father's work. On behalf of the Van Wagoner Family Trust, she is in the process of compiling a collection of his art work. The photographs of my father's art reproduced in lastamendment.com are hers.