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When The Justice System Falls Apart, So Does The Republic

Donald Trump with indictment page imposed over his face
Image CreditFDRLST/Canva, edited from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

If we no longer uphold equal justice under the law, we still have a country, but not the one we thought we had.


Democrats’ crusade to weaponize the criminal justice system to put their chief political opponent in jail escalated again Monday night, with the release of an indictment pursued by Georgia’s Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis against former President Donald Trump. The indictment, targeting not just Trump but 18 of his lawyers and advisers, is a clear message that if you’re a Republican, challenging election results — something Democrats have done after every GOP presidential victory this century — is now a criminal offense.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice is tripping over itself to insulate Biden and his son from scrutiny or criminal consequences for their apparent scheme to get rich off of peddling American political influence abroad.

The hacks at DOJ, by the way, also indicted Trump over a classified documents dispute, after raiding his house and rifling through his wife’s closet. Soon after, Biden was found to have classified documents lying around in his garage, but in his case, the feds are content to play nice. Oh, and Hillary Clinton also had a classified records scandal — in which her team destroyed emails and devices with BleachBit and literal hammers — but enjoyed the protection of then-FBI Director James Comey.

Speaking of Hillary, her campaign shopped a fake dossier full of lies about Trump to the FBI, which media and intelligence agencies used to smear Trump as a Russian stooge during and after the 2016 election. FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, the one person handed criminal punishment for the operation, got 12 months probation.

Oh, and Hillary was one of many, many Democrats who screeched for Donald Trump’s entire presidency that the 2016 election was stolen and Trump’s win was illegitimate.

[Read next: Hillary Clinton Doubts Election Results While Claiming Doing So Is Treason]

Lest you should think Trump is the only example of the double standard, remember that the DOJ raided the home of a pro-life pastor for pushing a threatening pro-abortion agitator away from his young son, while militant abortion activists firebombed Christian pregnancy clinics. Recall how they charged a man with homicide for defending subway riders from a threatening vagrant, but do nothing to stop criminals who terrorize law-abiding citizens. Think about the ongoing campaign to imprison anyone adjacent to a Republican protest that turned into a mob at the U.S. Capitol in 2021, after letting left-wing protests descend into fiery riots across the country for an entire summer. Excuse me, fiery but mostly peaceful riots.

The message couldn’t be clearer: Republicans can do nothing right in the eyes of the justice system, and Democrats can do nothing wrong. We have a two-tiered justice system, and 4 in 5 Americans know it.

Problems of hypocrisy are another day’s work in politics. The use of the criminal justice system — the leveler on which the basic functions of a society depend — to turn that hypocrisy into arrest warrants is something else entirely.

A functioning justice system is a citizen’s best peaceful defense of his liberty, assuring him that his lawful exercise of freedoms will be protected. There’s a reason four of the 10 original amendments the founders affixed to their newly minted Constitution regard the rights attendant to a fair trial. When the justice system forfeits citizens’ trust, trust in the integrity of the republic itself goes with it.

We don’t have real elections if candidates are jailed — or chilled by the threat of jail — to keep them from running. We don’t have real legal recourse if DAs indict lawyers until other lawyers become afraid to defend an ostracized client. For all Democrats’ pontificating about the rule of law, it doesn’t exist if it’s only applied and misapplied to half the country. If we no longer uphold equal justice under the law, we still have a country, but not the one we thought we had.

As my colleague Joy Pullmann wrote a year ago, “A country that harshly prosecutes people or lets them off Scot-free based on their political affiliation is a banana republic. A two-tier justice system is not a justice system. … Its purpose is not justice but population control.”

A fair justice system isn’t the first thing to crumble in a dying republic — there are plenty of warning signs — but it might be the hardest loss to come back from. After all, the law is supposed to be the authority to which Americans appeal when their rights are abused and trampled. What are they supposed to do when the law and its enforcers are doling out the abuse?

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