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Do Conservatives Really Revere ‘Law And Order’? Or Are They Just Moral Duplicity Experts?

June 10, 2020

Over the past two weeks, there have been many who voiced their concerns and deep misgivings about the looting and destruction of businesses across the nation.  We all can agree that protesting a just cause is proper while looting a store is harmful.  Many protesters who are working for changes to laws, such as making unlawful the use of police chokeholds, also have called out for the looters to stop the damage done to private property.

Conservatives have been playing up the rioting, and acting as if it continues today, and in so doing make it a partisan point.  They have not missed using rioting as a tool for political purposes, as President Nixon did in his 1968 race for the White House.  Yes, conservatives love to talk about ‘law and order’.

Watch Fox News for a few hours, and you might think rioters are still prowling America’s biggest cities, smashing windows and stealing handbags. You might think Minneapolis is still burning. You might think the unrest is getting worse.

In the “Fox & Friends” and “Hannity” alternative universe, the rioting is still a present-tense threat and could restart at any time. This is contradicted by every news report from every other outlet. The story now is about peaceful, powerful, sustained protest all across the country. But “riot porn” video is irresistible to Fox’s producers and hosts, even though the video is out of date now.

But do conservatives actually believe in law and order? 

We are now able to ask the question and watch conservatives react, and in so doing garner a deeper understanding of their ease at moral duplicity when it comes to a talking point of their party.  The issue from which to watch this play out concerns the legal theatrics concerning Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser.

John Gleeson is a former judge who was appointed by District Judge Emmet Sullivan to review the Justice Department’s motion to drop charges against Flynn. In what can only be summed up as a must-read, comes what can only be described as a blistering and scathing brief.  You will want to carve out some time to read it. The report finds that Flynn committed perjury and accuses the DOJ of a “corrupt, politically motivated” dismissal.

“The Government has engaged in highly irregular conduct to benefit a political ally of the President,” Gleeson writes. “The facts of this case overcome the presumption of regularity. The Court should therefore deny the Government’s motion to dismiss, adjudicate any remaining motions, and then sentence the Defendant.”

Accusing the Justice Department of “gross abuse of prosecutorial power,” the former mafia prosecutor and retired federal judge urged the court to reject the Trump administration’s attempt to drop the criminal case against him.

“The government has engaged in highly irregular conduct to benefit a political ally of the president,” adding that “leave of court should not be granted when the explanations the government puts forth are not credible as the real reasons for its dismissal of a criminal charge.”

So now conservatives will need to wrestle with their stated positions about law and order as they read Gleason writing that the Justice Department “has treated the case like no other, and in doing so has undermined the public’s confidence in the rule of law.”   

He continues by writing, “I respectfully suggest that the best response to Flynn’s perjury is not to respond in kind. Ordering a defendant to show cause why he should not be held in contempt based on a perjurious effort to withdraw a guilty plea is not what judges typically do.”

Gleason has done a real service to America and to our ideas about justice.  We need to know and trust the justice department is separate from undue political influence.  Donald Trump and Attorney General Willaim Barr have done grave damage to this institution and our concept of democracy.

Now we will see where conservatives alight on the issue.  Do they stand with their ideas about law and order so long and loudly stated, or do they cave to support this administration’s daylight attack on the admission of guilt in open court in what was, without doubt, a most brazen and chilling episode?

I am betting on conservatives being moral duplicity experts again!  Too few of them will be like the protestors who called for the looters to stop.  I am trusting, however, for a brave soul or two to stand up and demand the Trump administration cease at undermining law and order in this nation.

And so it goes.

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