Is Rule of Law Dead in America?

When the president rules by fiat, touting the dual powers of his pen and his phone, and the Supreme Court commandeers legislative power, political rule of law is obviously just a token on which feckless politicians run, paying lip service because it buoys political efficacy and turns out the vote.

But lost in the lamentations of the tarnishing of the Founders’ glorious vision is an equally pernicious perversion, that which has turned the criminal justice system into one where rule of law still exists, but as a caste system.

There is simply no way Hillary Clinton was unaware of the classification of materials she was emailing. The government’s classification system goes well beyond a simple email tagline bookmarking the sensitive nature of information. It is, after all, the federal government, so a complicated system of training and notation exists.

Yet, after months of dodging questions about her private email server, a clear violation of the Federal Records Act, and what sensitive information passed through it, federal agents have not raided Clinton’s home or the business that setup her home-brew server. Instead, Clinton directed David Kendall, her lawyer to turn over thumb drives containing copies of her emails- not the actual server- to the FBI. And the Justice Department has stated their willingness to allow Kendall to retain possession of the server.

At the same time government officials and journalists have been working around Clinton, Naval officer Kristian Saucier who foolishly took a selfie in front of a sonar screen on a submarine and then even more foolishly tried to destroy any record of it was indicted on espionage charges by the Justice Department and faces 20 years in prison.

The penalty for his actions, which are no more heinous than a lack of foresight, are harsh but just. Their is no excuse for negligence where military secrets are concerned. However, why is he being held accountable before the law while Clinton is kowtowed to?

The precedent for civil liberties and ides like blind justice is found in the Magna Carta. For the first time in history, accountability before the law became about more than the wrath of a slighted king. Broader, less mercurial powers became arbiter. However, this medieval concept of legal egalitarianism was still relative, enmeshed in the rigid class system of feudalism. Amercements, for instance, were handled differently depending upon whether one was a villein, a free man, a merchant, a baron or a member of the clergy.

This concept of legal egalitarianism is anathema to the American judicial system. Or, at least it used to be. Throughout the tenure of the Obama administration, countless officials- Eric Holder, Lois Lerner, John Koskinen, etc.- have been implicated in scandals that, if they were given credence and not dismissed as partisan smears, would certainly demand criminal charges.

At the same time, stories of federal raids of private residences and businesses that run afoul of obscure laws or that seem to be trumped up to force compliance have risen. And there seems to be little willingness in the media to even look into whether abuse has occurred, let alone a drumming up of anger and demand for just reparations.

It’s hard to paint this as anything other than an introduction of classism in American law. So, is rule of law dead? Technically not, as average citizens and connected media and political hegemons are held to the same standard. Unfortunately, that standard just happens to have a different scale depending on one’s social status.


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Katherine Revello

A recent graduate of the University of Maine, where she majored in journalism and political science, Katherine Revello is an aspiring political commentator. Her focuses include theory, the philosophy of money and populism. Currently, she is a graduate student at Villanova University. She is the founder of The Politics of Discretion, a blog dedicated to advancing her philosophy of discretionism. Follow her on Twitter: @MrsWynandPapers

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  1. Karl Marx spoke of man’s Natural Superiors with great lament that the Middle Class had separated man from his Natural superiors – “Natural Superiors” being the “lords” of the Feudal Estate!

    We, the serfs, in the new Feudal Estate – communism – need to recognize the Natural Superiority of the likes of Obama, Hillary, Holder, Lerner, etc. because they – being so much more qualified to “take care” of us than we are – certainly have our “best interests” in mind.

    Someone else spoke of these “Natural Superior” – George Orwell, author of “Animal Farm”, who pointed out the pigs who were MORE equal than the rest of the farm animals! The operative word being PIGS!!

    Pitch forks and sickles time…!

  2. There are untaken, and relatively simple, options for restoring some checks and balance to the Federal Grubermnt. The RINOsaurs in charge of the GOP either lack the vision or cajones to take such out of the box moves.

    For example, Mitch could move to eliminate the filibuster rules on anything (including legislation) that includes executive orders, appointments, and regulations. This by itself would put a big check and balance on executive excess as, with an overuse of executive orders and regulations. most everything could drag in something to bypass the filibuster. It should also be noted that this also means that the opposition minority would be significantly silenced. Furthermore, if the executive doesn’t like to get known as President No by vetoing everything sent to them, there is a solution — stop the excesses of orders and regulations.

    The sad reality is the filibuster rule has devolved into the primary tool of cronyism for both party leaderships — common sense is thrown under the bus. Clear common sense legislation supported by huge majorities can’t be passed without being larded up with crony perks and carveouts, ending up as legislative mush. This is also the reason that anything of importance always degrades into a ‘comprehensive’ bill that defies common sense and rarely solves anything.

    Another tool, that requires a GOP willing to think out of the box, also pragmatically requires holding both Congress and the WH — Congress needs to pass a law that all regulations proposed by the Executive branch’s burrOcracies must pass a majority vote of Congress to take effect. Stuff that doesn’t pass, dies. Currently, Congress has it upside down — they have to have to pass a bill to overturn a regulation, which in turn can be vetoed by the President, which basically has put the Burrocracies into an unelected out-of-control legislature. Ideally such a change would also include a sunseting provision for existing regulations so they’d come up for review according to how long they’ve been in effect. Basically, Congress needs to take back it’s legislative perogative from the WH. Let Congress positively approve regulations, or write legislation to deal with things.

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