Do you remember Lewis “Scooter” Libby?
In 2003, the Department of Justice appointed a special counsel to investigate allegations that Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, unlawfully disclosed the covert status of CIA operative Valerie Plame.
Yet Plame may not have been a covert undercover agent, based on the formal government definition of that role. And even if she were, it was widely known at the time that Secretary of State Colin Powell’s subordinate, Richard Armitage, had most likely disclosed her status earlier.
In other words, Libby was in an Orwellian position of being accused of a crime that may not have existed. But if it had, it was more likely committed by someone else.
Publicity-seeking special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald persuaded a Washington, D.C., jury to find Libby guilty of obstruction of justice, perjury, and making false statements to federal investigators — not the supposed crimes for which he was originally targeted by the media.
Apparently, the very suspicion of improper behavior by high public servants once warranted vigorous legal inquiry — by supposedly independent and autonomous prosecutors.
In the eight-plus years since the Libby trial, the Obama administration has blown up the law as we have known it for centuries.
Barack Obama once warned Latino activists that he had no legal authority to suspend enforcement of federal immigration law, stop deportations, and offer de facto amnesties.
But that caution was only a campaigning talking point. After his re-election in 2012 and the midterm elections in 2014, Obama made a mockery of immigration law.
Hundreds of liberal sanctuary cities have announced that federal immigration law does not apply to them. That scary, neo-Confederate idea of legal nullification was sanctioned by the Obama administration — in a way it never would have been if a city had suspended the Endangered Species Act, emissions standards, or gun-control legislation.
As a result, once-detained and later-released immigrants with criminal records have murdered innocent American citizens.
Consider the proposed nuclear deal with Iran. By past custom and practice, the nonproliferation agreement would be treated as what it is — a treaty.
But ratifying treaties constitutionally requires 67 yes votes from the Senate. Obama could never obtain that margin. So he managed to downgrade the treaty into a mere legal agreement. Then he claimed that the Senate required 67 no votes to override his veto.
Obama also was worried about the political impact of his new Obamacare legislation on the 2014 midterm elections. So he simply suspended by executive fiat the employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act. Had another president done that to the laws of Obamacare, the Left would have demanded impeachment.
In Ferguson, Mo., law enforcement eased off and allowed a city to burn. But the cause of the rioting — the supposed improper police killing of criminal suspect Michael Brown — was based on the lie that Brown was shot in the back while fleeing. No matter. The ensuing public outrage seemingly exempted arsonists and looters from arrest.
Just as scary is the application of the law on the basis of the perceived politics of a suspect.
IRS bureaucrat Lois Lerner was exposed as a rank partisan whose office gave particular scrutiny to would-be tax-exempt groups deemed opponents of Obama’s re-election efforts. She invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to testify before a congressional committee about her actions at the IRS. Lerner has never been indicted.
Almost everything former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has stated about her improper use of a private e-mail account and server has been proven false. A State Department staffer who worked on Clinton’s private server plans to invoke the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying before a congressional committee about his role in privatizing Clinton’s email.
But like Lerner, Clinton has escaped an indictment or jailing.
Not so Kim Davis. She is a conservative Christian court clerk in Kentucky who apparently thought, given the lawless times, that she could ignore without consequence a Supreme Court decision making gay marriage legal.
Davis was jailed for not enforcing the law. That is a justifiable punishment — if it were applied equally to the progressive mayors of sanctuary cities and all officials who likewise ignore federal law.
In the same manner, rank amateur video maker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was jailed for violating his probation. Why?
Nakoula made a video insensitive to Muslims and thus was falsely blamed for the riotous 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. The most likely culprit of the preplanned Benghazi attack was not scapegoat Nakoula, but the inconvenient pre-election truth that al-Qaeda was quite alive in Libya and U.S. security quite lax.
America is becoming analogous to the mess in lawless contemporary Venezuela. When the law is suspended or unevenly applied for politically protected individuals and groups, then there is no law.
So we are now seeing the logical descent into the abyss of chaos.
22 thoughts on “America’s Descent into Lawlessness”
The “law” in the USA is not uniform anymore. It depends upon where you reside and the nature of the local politics. Kevin Phillips, in his studies of the various civil wars within the Anglosphere, from the English Civil War to the American, says that ethnicity and religion were the biggest determinants of which side you were on.
The sad but inescapable reality is that America today is a nation in decline. More and more, we are a country of apathy, alienation, and distrust of public institutions. Accelerating this trend is the multiculturalism fueled by mass immigration. As our common culture erodes, we have no effective standards to acculturate our younger generations, let alone assimilate a massive flow of immigrants. It appears that continued division and balkanization now loom ahead.
. . . And as history sometimes tells us, a descent into lawlessness often leads to a “Man on a White Horse” or other names for a dictatorship, to “restore law and order”. Napoleon after the excesses and chaos of the French Revolution would be the classic example.
the country rots from the top down.
thank you mr. marcuse, mr. alinsky, mr. marx, and all the law professors and lawyers who have become president since bill clinton. (oh, yes, who still likes to cleanse himself in hot tubs w/ bimbo’s and sex offenders.)
from the top down. barney frank, anyone?
Definitely reminiscent of the ’70s.
Symbianese Liberation Army seems to have emerged triumphant after all.
It does sell papers. (What?)
Maybe, there really was a red under every bed. The pathetic rear guard of a defunct soviet state clutches us like a hydra.
An Argus of a surveillance state monitors each keystroke. She on whom it is death to gaze campaigns for our democratic election. Wherefore art thou Jason? In an age of monsters heroes must be championed, or the stables never get cleaned. God Bless us all.
Lord have mercy. Amen. There’s your hero. Remember?
Like Nazi Germany, and soon Sharia Law.
What happened to your vaunted “Checks and Balances”? Why are you so helpless? Obama doesn’t strike me as a legal titan.
And all this from a mess of lawyers who are sworn to uphold the law. When truth goes almost everything else follows.
Brilliant as always, Professor Hanson. It is tragic to think that America is any different from Republican Rome. And it’s a shame to watch us following their path into destruction.
There’s an openly gay judge in Texas refusing to marry straight people until she can marry gay people. Obviously (?), she’s a hero and her wishes must come true if we are to call ourselves fair people… mm-hmmm.
The top always sets the tone for what happens. Obama has brought us the lawlessness of the land.
Wasn’t Mr. Nakoula a Coptic Christian? Egyptian Muslims have persecuted his people for several hundred years. Thus, his “insensitive” video was a logical response to his easily offended persecutors. Obama, Clinton, and the rest of their cronies are always sensitive to the grievances of minorities. So, why would we apologize to the Muslims? Well, we all know the answer to that question, don’t we.
Sad, but should we be surprised, laws only are enforced if you oppose the liberal Progressive agenda. We are just a larger version of a “Third World Banana Republic.” I fear we’ve gone to far with the above mentioned examples and the recent SCOTUS rulings on Obamacare and same-sex marriage. I think we should call our legal system “Intreperative Justice.”
It boils down to the integrity of each individual and each choice they make
regardless of the law.
That said American laws and our adherence to those laws are two of the main
reasons for the success of our society.
Laws have no validity if people don’t understand that cooperation is
necessary to make them work.
It has to be quid pro quo of the highest order.
It should be understood that if we each decide not to stop at stop
signs then the traffic system won’t work.
Every little tax cheat or petty theft or illegal cable hook up might have
minimal consequences in day to day reality
but when there’s wide spread and continual law breaking on every level in the
halls of government it becomes a threat to the whole fabric of society.
It’s always an individuals choice and all those choices add up.
We might not always make the right choice or do what’s right but if we don’t
set the bar high and try to follow the rules we can be 100% sure that things
will fall apart.
C.S Lewis said: “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is
If we try to act in that manner we’re good. If we don’t then forget it.
All of what is going on in the country is so depressing.
If Hillary or another democrat get elected president i think we can reasonably say goodby to America exeptionalism.
America will be like another big european country with the following chaos on the World stage…
L´amérique a besoin d´une secousse sismique electoral pour la remettre dans le bon chemin.
It may be worth mentioning that state and local medical marijuana laws, like “sanctuary city” laws, are in violation of federal statutory law and the Singleton Convention, and people who sell medical marijuana are committing federal crimes. The city councils and boards of supervisors who pass local laws setting up medical marijuana businesses are probably also guilty of federal crimes,
Right now marijuana merchants are protected by liberal Democrat senators, but if that ever changes, a lot of people who thought they were following the law could find themselves in jail for a long time. For example, if Iran’s leaders use Obama’s $100 billion gift to blow up several major American cities, the political climate here could change almost overnight.
Medical marijuana dealing is simply not a good career choice for people in their 20s, or any other age. The Supremacy Clause of the Constitution says that in any showdown between state and federal law, the federal law always wins.
Limited by space, the author naturally had to leave out many more examples of lawlessness, including the Fast and Furious gun-walking and Philadelphia voter intimidation incidents. This piece is nevertheless a clear and concise description of the process by which our once great nation has devolved into a banana republic.
Commander-in Chief caught on tape bowing to Russia’s masculine will, whispering, ” After my election, i have more flexibility.” That was all Putin needed to hear. The equivalent of…………….we will bend over and bow. Back at home sweet home, we rule with an iron-hand over what’s left of America—– “Thank-you Sir, can i have another—Thank-you Sir, can i have another.”
Thank you for equating Mr. Obama to Hugo Chavez, Professor Hanson. The similarities are unmistakable.
It’s what Obama wanted…to make the US like any other country, esp. those of the 3rd World. After all, why should Americans enjoy a better standard of living while others in the World suffer (most likely due to the US anyway – according to Obama and Co.’s thinking). I’m just absolutely shocked and angered at the way Americans just rolled over and accepted what Obama has done (not to mention what he will do in the coming months).
“So we are now seeing the logical descent into the abyss of chaos.”
VDH — And here we are, what’s next, after, the hordes pouring in from the Southern Border, many more wanting in, from the ME and surrounding area’s.
Manufacturing shipped overseas, H1b visa’s given to millions to displace American Citizen’s. Regulations to protect the Environment from industries, but China and other’s having zero enforcement of their’s.
Chopping up babies to experiment with, sex change for prisoners, all funded and paid for by US tax payers.
Do you think the Roman and other Empires sunk this low before they fell?
So why hasn’t Congress appointed a special prosecutor to indict Hillary and impeach Obama yet? What is it waiting for? The politicized Justice Dept that is virtually in Obama’s pocket? Remember all Nixon did was order a break in and then try to cover it up. Obama and Hillary have corrupted the constitution of the US and have hardly even faced condemnation in the press.