The Case For “Justice For All”

Last night, as I read Charles Blow’s latest column, I found myself in complete agreement with every word.  In particular, I nodded loudly when I read, “The justice system must be untethered from political implications and consequences, even the possibility of disruptive consequences.”  Indeed so!  Justice cannot be held hostage by those who threaten violence!!!  Read on for his extremely intelligent assessment of why Donald Trump MUST be prosecuted …

Donald Trump Must Be Prosecuted

By Charles M. Blow

15 March 2023

Donald Trump may finally be indicted. Finally!

The Manhattan district attorney’s office has signaled that charges, related to Trump’s reported hush-money payments to the porn star Stormy Daniels, are likely.

But there’s also hand-wringing: about whether this is the best case to be the first among those in which Trump is likely to be criminally charged, the strength of this case compared to others and the historic implications of indicting a former president for anything.

And with regard to those implications, the central considerations always seem to be the importance of any precedent set by prosecuting a former president and the broader political significance — what damage it might do to the country. Often left out of that calculus, it seems to me, is the damage Trump has already done and is poised to continue to do.

Prosecution is not the problem; Trump himself is. And any pretense that the allegations of his marauding criminality are a sideshow to the political stakes and were, therefore, remedied in 2020 at the ballot box rather than in a jury box, is itself a miscarriage of justice and does incalculable damage.

Last year, around the time the House Jan. 6 committee was holding hearings, Elaine Kamarck, the founding director of the Center for Effective Public Management at the Brookings Institution, wrote: “Prosecuting Trump is not a simple matter of determining whether the evidence is there. It is a question embedded in the larger issue of how to restore and defend American democracy.”

I don’t see it that way. Any case against Trump must hang on the evidence and the principle that justice is blind. The political considerations, including gaming out what might be the ideal sequence of cases, across jurisdictions and by their gravity, only serve to distort the judicial process.

The justice system must be untethered from political implications and consequences, even the possibility of disruptive consequences.

For instance, could an indictment and prosecution of Trump cause consternation and possibly even unrest? Absolutely. Trump has been preparing his followers for his martyrdom for years and evangelizing to them the idea that any sanctioning of him is an attack on them. This transference of feelings of persecution and pain from manufactured victimhood is a classic psychological device of a cult leader.

Trump uses the passions he has inflamed as a political threat against those pursuing him: In 2019, when he was facing impeachment, he took to Twitter, citing a quote from Pastor Robert Jeffress, who’d appeared on Fox News and recklessly posited that if Trump were removed from office “it will cause a Civil War-like fracture in this nation from which this country will never heal.”

Last year, on a conservative talk radio show, Trump said that if he were indicted in connection with his alleged mishandling of classified documents, “I think you’d have problems in this country the likes of which perhaps we’ve never seen before. I don’t think the people of the United States would stand for it.”

Over and over, Trump has goaded his supporters in this direction: whether during the 2016 presidential race, urging rallygoers to “knock the crap out of” people who might disrupt the proceedings, or telling the Proud Boys, during a 2020 debate, to “stand back and stand by.”

On Jan. 6, 2021, he waited and watched the attack on the Capitol for hours, resisting pleas from his own advisers to try to stop it. When Trump finally made a statement, he downplayed the insurrection and reluctantly told the rioters to go home, but not without adding: “We love you. You’re very special.”

Trump is the impresario of incitement. He’ll use any attempt to hold him accountable to agitate and activate his loyalists.

That’s not a reason to avoid vigorously and swiftly pursuing him legally, but rather a reason to do it. If we establish a precedent that amassing a significant threat to society is a ward against enforcement of the law, it makes a mockery of the law.

It would reinforce what was already a persistent problem in the criminal justice system: unequal treatment of the rich and powerful, compared to that of the poor and powerless.

A series of studies from more than a decade ago in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that upper-income people were more likely to lie, cheat and literally take candy meant to be given to children. The researchers postulated that several factors could have contributed to this, including a lowered perception of risk, plenty of money to deal with the “downstream costs” of their behavior, feelings of entitlement, less concern about what other people think and a general sense that greed is good.

At the same time, as Jeffrey Reiman and Paul Leighton write in their book, “The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison,” “The criminal justice system is biased from start to finish in a way that guarantees that, for the same crimes, members of the lower classes are much more likely than members of the middle and upper classes to be arrested, convicted and imprisoned.”

The authors go further, theorizing that the goal of the criminal justice system isn’t even to prevent crime or provide justice, but rather to “project to the American public a credible image of the threat of crime as a threat from the poor.” When you think of it that way, it’s not hard to see how Trump and many of his admirers choose to see him as above the law. Indeed, if he weren’t rich and powerful, charges would almost surely have been filed long ago.

Prosecuting Trump wouldn’t break the country. On the contrary, it would be a step toward mending it, a step toward undergirding the flimsy promise of “equal justice under law.”

The eyes of the country are on these cases — the eyes of all those who’ve been badgered for minor violations, who’ve had the book thrown at them for crimes that others either got away with or served no time for. Not only are they watching, but so are their loved ones and their communities.

They, too, are America, and further damaging their faith in the country should matter as much as damaging the faith of any other part of our body politic.

To rehabilitate American justice, Trump must be prosecuted.

34 thoughts on “The Case For “Justice For All”

  1. The criminal justice system in this nation has devolved to the criminalization of poverty with the end goal of general institutionalization. I can’t count how many police personnel I’ve tried to tell about my stalker/targeter, to receive not a shred of concern. I’m a homeless woman ~ what am I even doing pretending to be a person?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Perhaps it’s time for you to contact your congressional representative regarding the lack of police support you’re getting. Being stalked is serious business and I cannot understand why the police aren’t taking it more seriously. Go higher on the food chain and contact your congressman!


      • I am not in a position to do anything but hang on from day to day, huddle in pain through the zero degree spells, make do with road food, sleep twisted up like a pretzel and somehow make my 60+ disabled body do it all again tomorrow, while hoping law enforcement will condescend not to notice me, and my stalker lets me live and leaves me sane through this night.

        I have literally met my near death within the last eighteen months through years of conscientious advocacy.

        The program is to put us in camps, and I’m blurring their convenient categorizations simply by existing.

        This is like asking the drowning person going down for the third time why they don’t gush up like Old Faithful.

        My congressman probably can’t understand why I don’t go to a shelter/prison.

        I’ve done all I can.


  2. “The justice system must be untethered from political implications and consequences, even the possibility of disruptive consequences.”

    I too utterly agree with Mr. Blow and you Jill! Our current federal, and state governments for that matter, were NEVER designed by our Core Founding Fathers, the original Philadelphia delegates, or the Constitution (with all its later Amendments)… to function in this way, with unfettered (corrupted?) authority and power or extreme WEALTH!!! This is exactly why (in part) I am writing my multi-part series A New U.S. Constitution explaining in much depth and detail WHY our Constitution MUST be brought out of the 18th-century and into the 21st- and anticipated, early 22nd-century! The path our incessantly greedy-dollars Congress members and White House administrations are influenced by—and now over the last decade including our SCOTUS Justices—is unequivocally doomed to fail. Just one prime example out of a plethora of evident examples… the ever increasing economic and social gap of inequality. The United States is now basically run by the mega-corporate sector. Period. Just look at what has and is happening with the relationship between Wall Street and the Central Bank/Federal Reserve!

    It is probably too late, but all legalized, voting Americans need to WAKE THA HELL UP!!! Otherwise, this country is headed for serious, serious rebellions, revolution, more violence (with so many damn military weapons available to the public!), and ultimately the collapse of the Western democratic allies. The U.S. must stop being run by filthy rich oligarchs!

    But Jill, I guess if this doesn’t stop, Climate Change will go ahead and reset the entire planet, and likely NOT is a pleasant manner for anyone! 😄

    Liked by 2 people

    • Love your comments..America has just gotten too stupid, too ignorant and too full of hate to recover. I live in .Fla. and I see what DeSantis is doing to Fla. with the approval of many. It’s disgusting. I’m just about fed up with all of this. At times, I’m just waiting for climate change, which will get worse, to just put an end to all this other BS.
      This “woke” business is about to drive me crazy. Just look at this video I saw on another blog just now. Evil is coming our way and I’m not even religious.

      Liked by 2 people

    • You have taken on a monumental and worthy project, my friend, and I hope … truly hope it gets the recognition from some in power that it deserves, for we are on a collision course as it stands today. The Founders fully intended the document to grow and adjust with the changing times, yet we have many in both the legislative and judicial branches who are textualists, who claim to KNOW that the Constitution was to be taken verbatim forever. Well, forever is just around the corner if we stay on the present path. But at any rate, NOWHERE in the Constitution does it say that a president, sitting or former, is above the law.

      I fully agree that voters need to wake the hell up, but … HOW do we make that happen? They have plugged their ears with vegemite and their eyes see only what the corrupt a-holes in the public eye want them to hear. HOW do we break this chain of ignorance?

      To your last point, frankly if we don’t take SERIOUS steps to limit chemicals, STOP the mining and burning of fossil fuels, plastics, and other contaminants, I don’t expect the human species to survive past the end of this century. Luckily, I won’t be around to see the worst of it. Sigh.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Many thanks Jill.

        HOW do we make that happen?

        In a quick phrase: We the People ORGANIZE! And what I mean exactly by that is “We the sane, moderate, well-educated, and tolerant Americans”—because there is still many more of us in this country!—“ORGANIZE with our own state legislatures and/or with other states, as Article V (5) allows, and to organize a People’s Constitutional Convention, that surpasses the support (or not) of the Senate when it’s in Republican hands, and then get more Amendments passed that sufficiently bring the Constitution OUT OF the freakin’ 18th-century and into the 21st- and hopefully the early 22nd-century!

        HOW do we break this chain of ignorance?

        1) Restore PUBLIC education and state curriculums back to what they were initially designed to teach, with 2) serious amounts of critical-thinking skills taught, NOT white-washing our nation’s history OR 3) even fraudulently rewriting our nation’s and state histories like what is and has been going on in Texas, and finally 4) REESTABLISH the intellectual institutions of America—prestigious state universities included—back to their past credibility, reputation, and known status of the “True Experts.” But those same campuses MUST be a lot more and a lot better engaged with ordinary (poor?) Americans too; not just the well-to-do in the country. Granted, my four points here is by no means exhaustive, but is CERTAINLY a great starting point… and ordinary, impoverished and middle-class citizens (if the middle still exist today 😏) to get civically active, engaged, participating, and most importantly VOTING every single chance!!!

        Hope that answers your two questions Jill. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Jill, using the antithetical argument, if he is not prosecuted it will be a huge disservice to the United States of America, our democracy and our diminishing standing in the world. It is hard to call ourselves a shining light on a hill, if we tolerate such overt deceit, sedition and beyond poor stewardship. As an independent and former member of both parties, the actions of the former president and his sycophants are overt. Keith

    Liked by 5 people

    • I fully agree, and the sooner the better. I realize these things take time to make sure all the ducks are lined up, etc., but after more than two years, it seems that the wheels of justice may need to be oiled to get them rolling. And you are so right … if we fail to hold him accountable, it does no good at all for our standing in the rest of the world … we will become even more of both a laughingstock AND a danger to our allies., and our enemies will have found the very large chink in our armour.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have no idea why everyone, including Biden, is so scared of poking the bare facts about Trump. His power is all in his mind. He can make big threats, and he ecen deluvered on them once, but that got him nowhere. He is mot worth the USA going to a 2nd Civil War over. Prosecute the asshole, and be done with him.

    Liked by 6 people

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