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Is the Rule of Law Open for Interpretation?

Trump blow up at Philadelphia parade.
Is he "above the law?" The GOP seems to think so.

The “rule of law” is a political philosophy and the foundation of our Constitutional government established by the founding fathers in 1787. This concept that no one, not even the President of the United States, is above the law is not open for interpretation.

However, the rule of law is now being challenged because we elected a President who abused his power and has, to date, never been held accountable for his crimes -- even those he committed before being elected in 2016.

The current Republican Party and Donald Trump, however, will have you believe that the rule of law can be interpreted based on who is on the receiving end. They want no law to apply to them when they openly commit crimes, but want to start investigations and use the law to its full extent against their political enemies -- with no need for pesky facts to justify their actions.

We’ve seen this before with the endless investigation into Hillary Clinton and her emails in 2016 that turned up absolutely nothing. The point of going after Clinton was to hurt her politically to help Trump win, not to actually hold her accountable for breaking any laws.

The GOP believes it is acceptable to use the law purely for political gain.

The Rule of Law in Action

This week the FBI executed a legal search of Trump’s property in Florida. The search was done as part of a referral by the National Archives to the Department of Justice to recover more classified documents taken by Trump when he left office January 20, 2021. Search warrants are not drafted without cause; they must contain facts that show probable cause that laws were violated before a judge will sign the warrant. The law is clear - removal of these documents is a federal offense.

The law in play here about Trump’s mishandling of classified information is the same one he and the GOP used against Hillary Clinton and her emails, with the difference being the National Archives actually has solid facts behind their investigation. This is a classic example of the GOP twist on how the rule of law should work.

The GOP take on this legal search and seizure of documents is that it’s a political hit job by the Democrats to keep Trump from running again in 2024. However, FBI Director Christopher Wray is a Republican appointed by Trump himself.

Rule of law? Republicans say it doesn’t apply here despite absolute proof that Trump illegally took classified documents and there is risk to national security.

Revenge Politics and Death Threats

Right wing media wants Joe Biden’s son Hunter fully investigated (again!) without any facts to support it. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) threatens that Attorney General Merrick Garland will be investigated for the DOJ's actions against ex-President Trump should the GOP retake Congress in November. McCarthy would not be calling for this if the ex-President was Barack Obama.

This week the Democrats are doing the real work of the American people by passing legislation that is good for everyone. The GOP has no platform and has never been able to accomplish anything like what the Democrats have achieved this week, so they have resorted to a platform of revenge politics like schoolyard bullies.

Forget everything the GOP has stood for under Abraham Lincoln through George W. Bush. Retaliation is the key word for Republicans in November.

Social media is flooded with Trump supporters who do not understand what it takes to get a search warrant signed and who believe the lies that this was an illegal “raid” and politically motivated by the Democratic Party. Trump has a copy of the warrant and the items taken and will never let anyone see what’s in them as they do not support his manic ravings. His people will never stop to ask for proof; they will just goose step along like good little soldiers.

How far are his supporters willing to go? That is the question.

While the elected politicians crow about an eye for an eye if they get power back, Trump supporters feel that violence is the way forward to stop Democrats and those who are not loyal to Trump. There have been ongoing death threats against anyone who testified to the January 6 Committee, and now they are even more openly calling for death to FBI Director Wray and A.G. Garland.

All because these men in the highest level of law enforcement, who believe in their oath of office, want to follow the rule of law regardless of where it takes them.

The November mid-term elections, no matter how they turn out will not solve the current divide in America. Especially when one party fails to accept the principle of the rule of law and apparently sees the destruction of America itself as acceptable collateral damage in their quest to take control.

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Mark M. Bello
Mark M. Bello
Aug 12, 2022

Susan: Actually, the rule of law IS subject to interpretation. That's why we have judges. That's why we have Roe & Dobbs, because different judges interpret laws and concepts . . . well . . . differently. I don't know whether Hillary committed a crime of not but "investigating" her was fair game. Recall that the investigation took place during a Democratic administration. No charges were ever filed, which makes the investigation appear political and it may have been. Likewise, I don't know whether Trump took classified documents home to Florida. His past and current behavior suggests that he might have—he is certainly someone who has constantly abused the legal system with garbage lawsuits and frivolous defenses. He clearly ha…

Bob Gatty
Bob Gatty
Aug 12, 2022
Replying to

You are right from a legal standpoint, of course. However, the fact remains that Susan's point that no one, not even the President, is above the law. He can, and should, be held accountable just as you or I would be.

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