There Goes the Rule of Law
Trump weaponized and disfigured the rule of law by making the Dept of Justice go after his political opponents and pardoned white collar criminals to show white collar crime does not exist at all. The constitutional state is being replacedby the security state. The security state is marked by the generalization of fear, the de-politiczation of citizens, the repetition of the big lie (we are invaded) to repress the small lies and trust in an all-knowing leader.
The most chilling [thing] that we are seeing now is certainly the use of his own Justice Department to go after anybody who's been disloyal. And also, as we just mentioned, using the Justice Department to exculpate, whether it's through a lighter sentence for Roger Stone, or using his pardon power to pardon people like Joe Arpaio right at the very beginning.
Arpaio Pardon May Be Opening Act of a Constitutional Crisis
Trump: I stand by my pardon of Sheriff Joe and I think the people of Arizona who really know him best would agree with me.
Bill Moyers: Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio who took a hard-line against immigrants.
Dahlia Lithwick: Who had people in camps dying on his watch, who had this hard-line, anti-immigrant worldview that was so brutal — that there was no question that what he was accused of doing, he had done. And I think that time and time and time again, we're seeing Donald Trump use the pardon power to say, "There's really no such thing as white collar crime. There's no such thing as being too hard on illegal immigrants. There's no such thing as being — whatever it is that he himself — sometimes — engages in."
And I think that, in addition to really kind of rejiggering the entire Justice Department so that it seems as though it answers to him personally, I mean, that's always been his worldview. He wanted an attorney general and he complained about Jeff Sessions, that Jeff Sessions wasn't loyal, and he wanted Jim Comey to be loyal. Even Don McGahn, his White House counsel, who ended up leaving, was not sufficiently loyal.
And I think he's really got a notion that he's like a Nero character — an emperor — and that the law works for him and responds to him. And in so many different configurations, we've seen him rescinding DACA by tweet. Making decisions about the dreamers thousands and thousands of dreamers on a whim. Making decisions about "don't ask, don't tell" on a whim.
I guess the paradox is not just that [Trump] has weaponized the rule of law, but that the rule of law has rushed to meet him — and to bolster his notions that he is above the law.
And then we have the entire apparatus of government scurrying to effectuate that, to make it happen for him. But I guess the paradox is not just that he's weaponized the rule of law, but that the rule of law has rushed to meet him, and to bolster his notions that he is above the law...
Dahlia Lithwick: We're learning there are many fundamental flaws in the system of capitalism that we have tethered ourselves to. But one of the flaws is that, for a very, very long time, rich men — whether it was Harvey Weinstein or Donald Trump — very, very rich men were able to surround their selves with armies of loyal attorneys who would do whatever they were asked to do. And that's exactly how he's trying to use his Justice Department today...
What you're seeing is, on the one hand, gutting of unions which this Court has been involved in. Giving huge rights to corporations, whether it's Citizens United or Hobby Lobby. This slow progression of doing away with workers' rights and protections for the little guy, protections in all sorts of contexts.
And, at the same time, as you say, the cherry on top is doing away with agency regulations that regulates big businesses. And these big business cases, whether they're affording huge new rights to businesses, or big wins to businesses that are trying to fight back any attempt to cabin corporate power and union power.
The Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the CFPB — any of these agencies — can be just tossed away at the whim of the Court. Those two things together are a huge, huge boon for business, and they are massively costly, not just for workers, but for the environment, and for women's rights, and for the rights of the elderly. So many entities that are not afforded protections when the Court is only looking out for corporations.
contribute to this article
contribute to this article
add comment to discussion