Rod St. Aubyn: Politicizing Justice
I cannot recall another administration politicizing justice as much as the current one. Justice should never be subjected to political whims or preferences. Lady Justice is often portrayed as being blindfolded and holding a pair of scales. As I recall, Lady Justice sits above the Grand Forks Courthouse. The image of Lady Justice is supposed to reflect that justice should be objective and free from politics.
Unfortunately the Obama administration has forgotten what justice is supposed to mean. Former Attorney General Eric Holder was probably the most political Attorney General in my lifetime.
Who can ever forget the pictures of the voter intimidation in Philadelphia when some members of the New Black Panther party stood outside polling sites with batons in a most threatening manner? And yet the Justice Department refused to prosecute.
However when the Trayvon Martin and the Ferguson events occurred the Justice Department was quick to launch investigations to determine if any civil rights violations occurred.
Numerous other incidents have occurred during this administration that should have prompted quick federal investigations of possible wrong doing and prosecution. Among those include the following:
- Allegations that the IRS was targeting conservative and tea party groups.
- Missing Lois Lerner emails.
- Phone records search of a journalist (who just happens to work for Fox News, which liberals love to hate).
- Operation Fast and Furious dealing with illegal gun sales by a federal government agency.
- Illegal recess appointments by the Obama Administration which were later ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
- Serious questions about the Benghazi attacks and this administrations handling and response to those attacks.
- Trading prisoners for an AWOL soldier.
- Illegal immigration executive order.
- The Planned Parenthood videos alleging the selling of aborted body parts.
- The use of a private server by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and possible top secret emails on that server.
- Hillary Clinton’s missing emails and her actions to “wipe the server clean.”
- EPA’s role in the spill of 3 million gallons of toxic material in Colorado.
I could list many more incidents, but the previous list highlights the issue. The new Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, does not seem to be as openly partisan as Eric Holder, but she is new yet and also has not shown the leadership to address some of the more recent events by launching vigorous fair investigations and prosecutions.
The Judiciary Act of 1789 established the federal judiciary system and also created the office of Attorney General. As we all remember, our great republic is comprised of 3 branches of government – Legislative, Executive and the Judicial.
Unfortunately, many of the powers of the Judicial Branch have been merged within the Executive branch with the establishment of the Justice Department. Perhaps it is time for Congress to review this and create some sort of autonomy with the Justice Department from the Executive Branch and protect it from political pressures.
I think that the Attorney General should be selected by a non-partisan process involving both major parties not unlike the process for the head of the FBI. The term of office could be 10 years so that it overlaps presidencies. It could even be selected like they do in many binding arbitration systems where each side offers a few suggestions and the two parties mutual agree upon one.
The nominee selected should be non-partisan (as much as that is possible), fair, qualified, and has a good reputation by his/her peers. It is obvious from the current administration that justice has unfortunately become much politicized.
A similar problem occurred with President Nixon during the Watergate scandal. So neither party is immune to this threat, but it seems more prevalent now.
There needs to be an independent Justice Department process to provide a necessary check and balance within our government. Americans deserve a Justice Department that is fair and strives for what they are supposed to provide – Justice.