On Due Process

Re-posted here from Facebook, by request.

I would love to see Dick Cheney arrested. I would love to see him put on trial for war crimes. And Bush, and Obama, and Trump. And Kissinger, for a thousand reasons. And, yeah, Hillary Clinton for what she did to the Libyans (not to mention the Haitian women, though I don’t think that was illegal by international law). And let’s not forget the Wall Street bankers who caused the 2008 crash, and destroyed the lives of hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of innocent people. I’d love to see them all arrested.

But if there is one individual who, to me, represents all that is most foul and revolting and who deserves to face judgement for his actions, it’s Dick Cheney. Like Trump, but with intelligence and self-control. Yeah, I would love to see him put on trial.

But here’s the thing: if I had the power, I would want him to have a fair trial, with due process, the right to confront witnesses, the right to counsel, the rules of evidence, and, as much as humanly possible, without a poisoned jury pool.

Because if you take the most loathsome human being in the world (and Cheney is at least a good candidate), and demand, and insist, that he get a fair trial and due process, you are doing the best you can to insure that, should it ever come up, YOU will get a fair trial. Remember that trial by jury, presumption of innocence, and all the rest were not gifts of a magnanimous ruling class, they were fought for, and won, by the most oppressed layers of society, and with good reason.

If we let the courts get away with–if, god help us, we encourage–anything less in the case of someone we despise, it is not ultimately the powerful who will suffer.

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I play the drum.

15 thoughts on “On Due Process”

  1. Very well said. I agree 100%. However, the most faithful and powerful servants of the Imperium will never face trial, because such a trial would be of the system itself. Best that can be hoped for under the current (hopefully temporary) setup is that a low or mid-level scapegoat will be sacrificed from time to time to give the illusion that the masters care a fig about justice.

  2. Agreed. But I would say that, A) demanding this sort of justice–trials for them, fair trials for all–is an important part of the fight for a better system, and, B) We can always hope for revolutionary tribunals.

  3. Well said indeed. But if we look at Trump’s impeachment trial, it would appear that the fix is in, in Trump’s favor. If this ends up a farce, that it is not a fair trial, we may end up with with fascism ignoring the law.

  4. There are many problems with the whole impeachment thing, but lack of due process, in the way I mean it above, isn’t one of them.

  5. Here’s what made me think it applied: “But here’s the thing: if I had the power, I would want him to have a fair trial, with due process, the right to confront witnesses, the right to counsel, the rules of evidence, and, as much as humanly possible, without a poisoned jury pool.”

    Evidence is being hidden, witnesses suppressed and the jury is poisoned, per Trump’s desires. So hardly a fair trial. Of course, a fair trial would likely remove Trump from office.

    We invited this situation by allowing people like Cheney and the Bush(s) to commit war crimes with no punishment. So the disrespect of the Constitution by the GOP was bound to just get worse and worse, and due process was a victim.

  6. skzb, are you talking about the right to a fair defense? I agree that is extremely important, primary even.

    In Trump’s case, with all the stonewalling by the GOP, one could argue that this is not a fair defense. The charges are not defended against, merely steam-rolled. If, as seems likely that Trump is “acquitted”, everybody will still know Trump was never cleared of the charges against him.

  7. I share your frustration. I share your wish. Of course, ordering the assassination of the Iranian national in a foreign country is pretty reprehensible, too. And a war crime.

  8. I, for one, think that the impeachment is all a sham. Political theater designed to distract the public from all the nefarious goings on with the wars, the bankers, attacks on the social safety net, poison in the water and the air, and on and on.

  9. A Man for All Seasons (1960)
    Roper: So now you’d give the Devil benefit of law?
    More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
    Roper: I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
    More: Oh? And, when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you – where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast – man’s laws, not God’s – and, if you cut them down – and you’re just the man to do it – d’you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.

  10. Laws should indeed apply to devils and angels and everyone in between. The problem we are seeing underlined now is that they clearly don’t. They clearly haven’t ever.

  11. The Rule of Law is great, especially for those who write the laws and can change them for their own benefit with little effort.

  12. Accountability and transparency. Two things mainstream politicians almost always promise and almost never deliver.

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