The courthouse is a very bleak house, indeed. Injustice makes it so—especially when it’s justice for some, but not for all.
One judge I know says she looks forward to the adoptions she officiates: “An adoption is just about the only time people come to the courthouse and everyone leaves happy,” she told me. “For most people, a trip to the courthouse means something has gone very, very wrong in their lives—a divorce, or custody problems, or criminal charges.”
It’s true; nearly half of all Americans have had a family member who has been to jail or in prison. A Cornell University professor who authored a study on this says “The core takeaway is family member incarceration is even more common than any of us—all of whom are experts in the field—had anticipated.”
And that’s why Americans are so disheartened to see the two-tiered justice system that favors the politically connected, preserving the Bidens, the Clintons and others from the Dickensian workings of the criminal justice system. We get “Bleak House;” they get Martha’s Vineyard.
That’s what’s at play as prosecutors continue to pursue “January 6” thought-crimes (just compare the prosecutions of Trump supporters—not to mention former President Donald Trump himself—to the way rioters during the George Floyd summer were treated). The latest indictment of Trump, in fact, is clearly criminalizing speech, thought, legal positions (right or wrong), and incorrect information. Meanwhile, the Biden crime family continues its spree unabated.
Americans see the truth of it quite clearly.
“The majority of Americans in a new poll say there’s a two-tiered justice system in the U.S.: one for politicians and those in Washington, D.C., and one for the rest of Americans,” the Center Square reported last year. “A large majority of those polled in a separate survey expressed opposite views about who they believed was behind the FBI’s raid on former President Donald Trump’s home based on their party affiliation.”
Not even 12% of those polled said “There’s one system of justice with laws applied to all Americans equally.”
Those on the left, of course, are rushing to defend a system they’ve been saying was two-tiered for decades. At a recent House hearing with two IRS whistleblowers who say Hunter Biden was given special treatment, Congressman Maxwell Frost, a Florida Democrat, slammed Republicans for co-opting the verbiage of the civil rights movement.
“Since January 6th, these Republicans and Trump have complained about a two-tier justice system, co-opting the language of the decades-long civil rights movement for Black lives and Black freedom,” Frost said. “There is a two-tier justice system, but it’s not about Democrats versus Republican. This language, ‘two-tier justice system,’ has a real history. It has a real history of Emmitt Till. It has a real history with Breonna Taylor. It has a real history with George Floyd, the Central Park Five.”
But what enabled the grave injustices like Emmett Till’s death was selective enforcement of the law—and an acceptance of the two-tiered system by those in power.
Where Frost goes wrong is where Ibram Kendi goes wrong when he declares that “The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”
The remedy for a two-tiered system of justice isn’t to keep the tiers and re-divide the country, by political connections rather than race; the remedy is a consistent system that promises justice for all, with malice toward none (not even toward that basket of deplorables).
As a U.S. attorney, I’ve seen the families devastated by crime—and the criminal justice system. And it’s not just the victims; it’s also the families of those who are incarcerated. My friend Alice Marie Johnson watched her family grow up without her, while she was in prison.
When the system gives a pass to the politically connected, it undermines the rule of law we all want and need. “Injustice breeds injustice,” Dickens wrote in “Bleak House.”
It’s time to stop the vicious cycle, and restore justice for all.