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The Dangerous State of Our Legal System

February 8th, 2010 · No Comments · Courts and the Law, Politics

When Barack Obama became our 44th President, we thought that things would begin to change. And they have. But not much. Yet some people might still say that these things take time and we will gradually get back to normal. That may not happen. And if it does not happen, you are not safe. Not safe in your car, your home, your workplace or your church.

We now know that there is strong evidence that the legal system has been gerrymandered. Karl Rove and Dick Cheney apparently decided that, since the courts are the last resort of freedom and justice, they would put their own people into the judiciary sot that they can have their own brand of freedom.

Infiltration of the Justice Department by all these Right Wing Neocons is not news. We know of it from the situation of the 8 U.S. attorneys who were fired in late 2006 for refusing to carry out political attacks on Democrats or back off of investigations on Republicans during elections and how they were fired for their recalcitrance. Now we know the answer to the question some of us were asking: what about the ones who did not resist instructions to prosecute cases without merit?

If these 8 refused to act, what about the others, those who were not fired? After all, we know about the loyalty tests, the selection of attorneys after review by members of the Federalist Society, and selection from a few, highly Fundamentalist, conservative law schools. We know the depth infiltration of Neoconservative operatives, that is, attorneys with identified Neocon viewpoints and activist intentions. It seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it? With 93 U.S. Attorney appointments, certainly many were going to do what they were told. What happened when they did. We know what happened when they didn’t.

As a reminder of how bad those situations were and how partisan and really biased our legal system had become, there was the case of Carol Lam. A graduate of Yale and Stanford Law School, she was the U.S. Attorney for a segment of Southern California. She prosecuted people in the “Duke” Cunningham case, where the House member and former congressional medal of honor winner was tried and convicted of taking bribes. In addition, she was trying another case against a health industry group that involved fraud for kickbacks to doctors. She won a settlement in that case in the tens of millions of dollars.

But as the investigations of other Republican House members in Southern California began to reach the indictment stage, she was suddenly accused of not indicting enough illegal aliens. This charge was made out of the blue by Rep. Darryl Issa of Southern California. She was attacked by Senator Orrin Hatch on Meet the Press in which Hatch told several lies about her for which he later “apologized.” After she was told basically to drop all continuing litigation and leave immediately from her position as U.S. Attorney, she was hired immediately by Qualcomm as senior vice president and Deputy General Counsel.

Just as serious as U.S. Attorney appointments, however, were appointments to U.S. Courts. These are just some of the people whom Bush appointed and their checkered and partisan career highlights.

Janice Rogers Brown. U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia was rated “unqualified” by her stat’s commission on judicial nominees. She has blatantly come out against such things as civil rights, worker’s rights, the environment, Social Security, and welfare. You can pray that you never come before her court with a matter against a corporation.

Brett Kavanaugh. For the Circuit Court of the District of Columbia. Had very little legal experience, but work for Kenneth Starr on impeachment of Bill Clinton. Before taking the bench himself, he was involved in screening and pushing through Bush’s other judicial nominees.

William Pryor. When Alabama’s Attorney General, he challenged such legislation as the right to family and medical leave, age discrimination, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Voting Rights Act. Despite the fact that his nomination was opposed by over 200 different groups, including unions, civil rights, environmental women’s and disability organizations, he was appointed by the Bush Administration to the 11th Circuit.

Priscilla Owen. Nominated to the 5th Circuit, she has a record of opinions against, worker’s rights, consumers rights, women’s rights and civil rights. Opposed by an overwhelmingly large number of organizations in Texas and nationally, she was appointed and confirmed by the Bush Administration.

Terrence Boyle. Nominated to the 4th Circuit in North Carolina, he was a federal district court judge and prior to that, a staffer for racist/bigot/ Right Winger, Senator Jesse Helms. He has had serious problems with civil rights, was overturned twice by the Supreme Court in redistricting cases. His record is anti-civil rights and anti-women’s rights.

The question that we must all ask is this: how many Bush appointees for U.S. Attorney positions and judges in the courts of appeal in the United States remain in those positions today? Since the information we know for certain is that many are against human rights, consumer’s rights, women’s rights and central programs of government like Social Security and Medicare….what kind of damage are they doing to civil rights on a daily basis? We need answers from the Justice Department.

To underline how serious this situation can be, it is not necessary to go to the major decision recently made by the Supreme Court that said that corporations may now give directly to the individual political campaign of a Congressman, Senator or even a state representative or a local judge. While that is a virtual green-light for corporations to buy individual candidates, the system, under Bush, was already underway.

Moreover, the contention that there is bias on the Supreme Court has only been heightened recently when it has been claimed (and not denied so far as we know) that Eugene Scalia, the father of Antonin Scalia, and a not-inconsiderable influence on him, was head of the Fascist Party in the U.S.

From Answers.com:

“The American Fascist party was founded in 1934 by Eugene Scalia, father of current supreme court justice Antonin Scalia.

They were sympathetic with the ways of the Nazis, who basically believe that every function of government should be run by private corporations, that government should be strictly authoritarian, and that there should be no freedom for people within a country. They supported the Nazis in the lead up to World War II. In a notable case, Senator Prescott Bush, an erstwhile member of the American Fascist party, was sanctioned for doing business dealings with the Nazis even after World War II started.

Fascism is the opposite of democracy, because it does not give any power to the public, once it is in the hands of these corporations. There are no elections for corporations. They are what FDR called the “modern day tyrants, no different than royalty during the Middle Ages.

The fascists embrace that model. You can see fascism in action in many authoritarian dictatorships throughout the world today.

One can see Scalia’s Fascist leanings by his decisions, which tend to favor large corporations, a one party system, the oppression or limiting of speech, especially in a 2006 decision where he found that there is no first amendment protection for any government worker who might have something bad to say about the government.”

Well, that’s an interesting observation. But, whether or not Judge Scalia’s father was the founder of a Fascist Party in the United States…not to be an apologist for Scalia, but for fairness…that does not make him a Fascist. And while Scalia’s leanings are definitely what we would call Conservative, maybe Neoconservative…less for people and more for corporations…being conservative does not equate with Fascism.

Moreover, being a Neoconservative, i.e., reducing government to merely a military security force and perhaps road maintenance and letting free enterprise run the country, including…after the Neoconservative Supreme Court’s recent decision…the judicial and electoral system, even that does not equate with our traditional view of what is Fascism.

If we were to do what the Neoconservatives want and what they have done over the last 8 years, attempt to completely dismantle government, we would perhaps then have a system similar to Latin American dictatorships. In such a situation, the military would be employed by the government which would be (perhaps will be now) by huge corporations in frequently rigged elections.

The mass of the people are poor and uneducated (we are going in that direction) and a secret and private security force similar to the Gestapo, controls dissidence. This kind of force, perhaps twice the size of the current Blackwater private army in North Carolina and Illinois that worked directly for Dick Cheney is used to spy on the people and remove them from society if the cause trouble. We’ve seen that in Spain, in Argentina, in Haiti, and in many other Latin American countries, not to mention the totalitarian versions of Communism in Russia and China.

But we aren’t there yet. We have 59 democratically elected Senators and something like 235 or so House Members and a Democratic President. If they all work together and keep the People advised and motivated to see things become Populist, i.e., working for the People…then we’ll be fine.

But if the corporations begin to buy up politicians then we will have revolution and the people on the side of the government in those terms will be Fascists and the people trying to change things will be Revolutionaries. How close we are to the latter, is difficult to know. But Benjamin Franklin said we have liberty…if we can keep it. These days that is a job for all of us

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