Governor DeSantis, the Raid on Trump, and the Rule of Law—Part II

Rob Natelson

In this Part II of my two-part series on the rule of law, I was going to explain how the rule of law is declining in America. But Monday’s massive FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s residence for alleged misuse of government documents—after the FBI gave Hillary Clinton a pass for a similar offense—has made my case for me.

In Part I, I summarized an Aug. 4 executive order (pdf) issued by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. It suspended from office one Andrew Warren, a “woke” prosecutor who refused to enforce certain laws with which he disagreed.

I explained that DeSantis (or his staff) crafted his order in a way that forestalled any credible line of attack from the liberal-propaganda media. I added that the order may help reverse a current drop in respect for the rule of law.

In this Part II, I’ll explain what the rule of law is, why it’s important, and provide further evidence—if any is necessary—of how it has deteriorated.

What is the Rule of Law and Why is it Important?

Compliance with the rule of law means that (1) legal standards are clear, enforced, and reasonably stable, (2) officials comply with and enforce those standards, and (3) the judicial system is impartial, fair, and reasonably efficient. When the rule of law is respected, a citizen can usually predict the consequences of following, or violating, legal standards.

Without the rule of law, democratic self-governance is impossible. When officials violate, or refuse to enforce, measures adopted by the people and the people’s representatives, those officials undermine democracy. That’s why Gov. DeSantis accused Warren of “usurping the province of the Florida Legislature.”

Without the rule of law, economic prosperity is also impossible. Legal standards must be clear and predictable before investors will risk capital and before entrepreneurs commit their time and creativity. When rules are fuzzy, unevenly enforced, or subject to random change, investors and entrepreneurs shy away.

In the years immediately before adoption of the U.S. Constitution, demagogic politicians had weakened the rule of law in some states. One reason the Founders adopted the Constitution was to shore up the rule of law. In No. 44 of “The Federalist,” James Madison wrote:

“The sober people of America are weary of the fluctuating policy which has directed the public councils. They have seen with regret and indignation that sudden changes and legislative interferences, in cases affecting personal rights, become jobs [i.e., opportunities for unfair gain] in the hands of enterprising and influential speculators, and snares to the more-industrious and less informed part of the community. They have seen, too, that one legislative interference is but the first link of a long chain of repetitions, every subsequent interference being naturally produced by the effects of the preceding. They very rightly infer, therefore, that some thorough reform is wanting, which will banish speculations on public measures, inspire a general prudence and industry, and give a regular course to the business of society.”

The New Decline in the Rule of Law

The disparity of official treatment of Trump and Clinton is but a vignette in a much wider mural. A 2021 international survey shows that the United States has dropped to 27th place among all nations in its respect for the rule of law (pdf). Another survey observes that in the United States, “the judicial appointments process has become increasingly politicized. A troubling and growing tendency of federal governance by the unaccountable administrative state empowered by presidential decrees has undermined public confidence in the rule of law. Public perceptions of corruption and distrust of institutions have been rising in recent years.”

Our decline toward third-world status began in earnest during the presidency of Barack Obama (2009–2017). His administration was marred by a frenzy of opaque economic regulations; raw favoritism for some business interests over others; politicization of law enforcement; and massive, inscrutable statutes of questionable constitutionality. Among those statutes were the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and the Dodd-Frank financial regulation law.

Moreover, Obama repeatedly issued executive orders punching holes in federal statutes addressing drugs, immigration, and health care. As noted in Part I, this conduct violates a core principle of Anglo-American constitutionalism.

As the cases of Trump, Clinton, and Andrew Warren all illustrate, another aspect of the decline has been the biasing of the law enforcement process. In 2012, the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act—reaffirming traditional one man/one woman marriage—was pending before the Supreme Court. Attorneys general are obligated to defend the laws enacted by their legislatures, but Eric Holder, Obama’s attorney general, refused to do so. In fact, he joined the opposition.

Other attorneys general and prosecutors followed Holder’s sordid example. Another miscreant was Roy Cooper, then attorney general of North Carolina, who refused to defend his state constitution’s “one man/one woman” rule. This may well have contributed to the 2015 Supreme Court decision, which on markedly weak reasoning, narrowly struck down traditional marriage rules such as North Carolina’s (pdf).

Prosecutors responded to the highly destructive Black Lives Matter/Antifa rioters with indulgence, but savagely to the less-destructive Capitol Hill riot. While prosecutors have been unrelenting in their pursuit of Trump associates, they showed no interest in enforcing federal law against leftist protesters harassing Republican-appointed (and only Republican-appointed) Supreme Court justices (pdf).

Congress has also participated in the trend: As I have documented in other essays, the Senate’s conduct of the Trump impeachment trials and the House’s conduct of its Jan. 6 hearings disregarded basic standards of fairness and due process.

While most of the responsibility for the breakdown in the rule of law is chargeable to the left, the record of the Trump administration was not spotless either. In my previous essay, I mentioned the case of the legally dubious transfer of military funds to the construction of the border wall. Another illustration was the mass intrusion, during the COVID-19 pandemic, of the federal government into public health law—a subject the Constitution clearly assigns to the states.

Gov. DeSantis’s Contribution

As a political issue, the rule of law often has less traction than some other issues. Some voters find it hard to appreciate that people they disagree with are entitled to fair and impartial treatment. Moreover, once a faction obtains power, it’s tempted to disregard legal standards when striking back at opponents. This is particularly true if those opponents previously violated the rule of law to attack the now-triumphant faction. This cycle of strike and counter-strike is, indeed, a vicious one.

In such circumstances, one mark of the leader-statesman (as opposed to the typical politician) is that he makes an effort to educate the public on crucial issues it might not otherwise understand.

DeSantis has just helped educate us on the rule of law. For that he deserves our gratitude.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

 

Rob Natelson

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Robert G. Natelson, a former constitutional law professor, is senior fellow in constitutional jurisprudence at the Independence Institute in Denver.

Amman Al Zawahiri

The killing of Al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri will be sold as a counterterrorism success. Bit Zawahiri was not hiding out in some remote range of mountains. He was in a populated area. Besides all that we were told that the Taliban were able to keep Al Qaddafi under control. At least that’s what the Biden administration told us as we fled like scared rabbits from Afghanistan.

Call me a skeptic but I believe nothing this pretend President does or says. One thing I do know November of 2024 can’ get here fast enough.

I do know one thing for sure, my checkbook in my sanity needs an early exit of this pretend president. rh

A Lost Nation

We are quickly losing our country. Our stated values that have been fought for are slowly eroding. No rule of law, the big shots get away with murder, destroying this nation and the constitution and just smile and laugh. Were are the grownups in the room with Dementia Joe. Nowhere to be found, they are the problem. I shouldn’t put this on Joe, we all know Obama is in charge.

The Biden administration said in April it was going to release up to 600,000 illegal immigrants in the coming months amid the unprecedented surge in illegal immigration while a watchdog report released in June showed that the government is utilizing the program more as time goes on. Reported by Epoch Times.

The U.S. is fast becoming a third world country. That is a fact.

The people in charge in D.C. are evil, and that includes the so called Republicans that scream and whimper and finally give in and agree to go along to get along, mainly to be invited to all the cocktail parties. Or should I say to get the bribe money that is passed out like candy. I’m sick of it and most Americans are!

God help us. rh

Barr: US Legal System Is ‘Rigged Against Republicans’

By Rita Li Epoch Timeshttps://www.theepochtimes.com/barr-us-legal-system-is-rigged-against-republicans_4510206.html?utm_source=News&utm_campaign=breaking-2022-06-03-1&utm_medium=email&est=mRk%2FjJp29s1n6nlpnf%2Bf%2Bn7CICJ1t9WScVadttChrGP9bUil%2BrZoLIY6yfOqZVxgMfU%3D

June 3, 2022 Updated: June 3, 2022

Former Attorney General William Barr called the Russiagate “a dirty political trick” against former President Donald Trump and criticized the justice system as “rigged” to target Republicans.

“I thought we were heading into a constitutional crisis,” Barr told conservative talk radio host Glenn Beck in a recent episode, after being asked about his return to politics between 2019 and 2020. Barr then brought up the Russia probe against Donald Trump, the second president he served as the attorney general after George H.W. Bush.

“Whatever you think of Trump,” he explained, “the fact is that the whole Russiagate thing was a grave injustice. It appears to be a dirty political trick that was used first to hobble him and then potentially to drive him from office.”

He said he believes Hillary Clinton’s Russiagate scandal was “seditious,” referencing the scheme that began in early 2016 to vilify Trump as an agent of the Kremlin.

Such remarks, however, were soon followed by the acquittal of Michael Sussmann as a jury on May 31 found him not guilty of lying to the FBI. Prosecutors accused the former Clinton campaign cybersecurity lawyer of not disclosing who he worked for to a top FBI official ahead of the 2016 election.

His tip—an alleged link between then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russia—also failed to prove any Russian collusion.

The jury, from a largely Democrat-leaning pool of the nation’s capital, ultimately rejected the prosecution’s claims. Defense Attorney Sean Berkowitz accused Durham, who was appointed by Barr during the Trump Administration to probe the origins of the now disproven Russiagate, of picking evidence to fit a narrative.

“I do think there is a degree to which the system had a double standard, and still has a double standard, and is rigged against Republicans,” Barr said on the podcast. “For an example, while I was Attorney General, no case that was embarrassing to the Democrats was leaked. However, cases that hurt Republicans were leaked.”

Where Did You Go Trump?

I have been following the Pennsylvania Senate primary for the past few weeks. Between the bad endorsement in Pennsylvania, and the bad endorsement in Ohio, I am beginning to wonder who Donald Trump really is. What are his values, why is he endorsing rhinos? Dr. Oz is a horrible candidate who will never support my political values whatsoever. I believe he will be another Mitt Romney or Lindsey Graham who smile away while they plunge a knife in the back of Donald Trump.

What is it about Trump that makes him think he can continue to support middle of the road moderate Republicans and keep his conservative Christian base together? Or maybe he doesn’t care? Or maybe it’s just bad advice? In any case he should know better.

My organization, Christian Conservative Coalition works on the grassroots level endorsing true conservatives. We would never for any reason whatsoever endorse candidates as bad as what Trump has endorsed recently.

I guess time will tell who’s the real Donald Trump is. Unfortunately our country does not have the time to wait on his mid-political life crisis. Will the real Donald Trump please stand up.

PAYBACK: MI House Speaker Jason Wentworth OUSTS Trump Endorsed Candidate For Speaker, Rep. Matt Maddock, From House GOP Caucus Only 3 Days After Establishment GOP Bloodbath- 

100 Percent Fed Up Exclusive – Late in the day on Tuesday, the MI House Republican Caucus, under the leadership of Speaker Jason Wentworth and House Caucus Chair Matt Hall, have expelled the popular conservative MI State Representative Matt Maddock (R). Local far-left media was elated to see the establishment Republicans attacking one of the…

Source: PAYBACK: MI House Speaker Jason Wentworth OUSTS Trump Endorsed Candidate For Speaker, Rep. Matt Maddock, From House GOP Caucus Only 3 Days After Establishment GOP Bloodbath

My opinion RINO need to be defeated and purged from the Republican Party.  Otherwise our country is lost. Also Trump needs to do much better in endorsements. He is losing Christian Conservatives.  On the ground from Ohio, conservatives are mad!!!  Won’t support Vance!!
First hand reports. By RH