Friday, June 10, 2016

Rule of Law

Vice President Joe Biden made a good point about the problem with Donald Trump’s racist comments about a judge who is presiding over the civil case against “Trump U.”

Biden said such attacks by a candidate from a major political party make Trump unable to be “trusted to respect the independence of the judiciary as president.”

“These are words of someone who sees our federal judiciary … as a tool to manipulate to do what he calls ‘to deal with the laws of our country,’” Biden said. “I don’t think the framers envisioned a presidential candidate accusing a judge of being incapable of reaching a fair decision because of his ethnic decent.

“I find Donald Trump’s conduct in this regard reprehensible,” Biden said. “It is a dangerous attack on a vital pillar of democracy … undercutting the legitimacy of a judge by suggesting that because of his heritage he’s incapable of being fair. It is racist.”

The Judiciary at the federal level is a co-equal branch of government along with the legislative (Congress) and the executive (the presidency), but it’s also the only branch that is unelected and has a lifetime tenure.  The idea was that judges and the legal system were not supposed to be subject to the whims of electioneering and political persuasion.

So when you hear someone on the right — or the left — carry on about “unelected justices on the Supreme Court” handing down opinions and “making laws,” they seem to have missed that day in Grade 10 civics class when it was explained that that is how it’s supposed to work.

To be thoroughly cynical, I’m willing to believe that Donald Trump and Ted Cruz and the folks who carry on about the courts know exactly how the system works but they’re exploiting those who don’t.