Vail Daily column: Why the ‘lock her up’-ers are un-American
Make American great again?
America is already great. The first and finest democracy the world has ever known, America, is great, in substantial part, due to the rule of law.
The rule of law is defined simply as the legal principle that law should govern a nation, as opposed to being governed by arbitrary decisions of individual government officials.
What that means, when it comes to the shrill lock her up-ers, is that legal process must be followed. And when that process has run its course, that process must be respected. Ask yourself if you would want to live in a nation where vendettas or political vengeance were the rule instead. The Third Reich, the Hermit Kingdom of North Korea, Syria and other despotisms come to mind. Is this the model the lock-her-up-ers want to emulate in the America they profess to love?
The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments assure each person due process of law; that is, that the state must respect all legal rights that are owed to the individual. Due process balances the power of the state and protects the individual from its arbitrary use, abuse or misuse. When a government harms a person without following the exact course of the law, so doing constitutes a due process violation, which offends the rule of law. Due process deals with the administration of justice and thus the Due Process Clause acts as a safeguard from the arbitrary denial of life, liberty or property by the government outside the sanction of law.
If you think — as Donald Trump encourages his followers to believe — that the system is “rigged” — a rigged system, by the way that led to Trump’s nomination, one need look no further than Spiro Agnew or Richard Nixon, who were driven from the highest office in the land by application of the law, which would not spare even the President of the United States from its righteous thunder.
Exactly what the lock her up-ers want Hillary Clinton locked up for is unclear. What is clear is that Clinton’s actions as Secretary of State have been subjected to intense scrutiny under a powerful and often partisanly-powered microscope. Investigation after both partisan and bi-partisan investigation have concluded that she engaged in no criminal misconduct nor has she engaged in any indictable offense.
Should she be tried anyway? And, if she were exonerated, should she be locked up nonetheless?
Presume, instead, that it were you. Or your son or daughter or your mother, father, wife or husband. What would you think if you were investigated by the state, no crime was found and you were put on trial anyway? Worse, what if no offense were found, but you were locked up because mob rule so demanded? What then of our democracy?
Following legal process
This nation of laws rests upon an absolute presumption of innocence. Only if one is tried and found guilty by overwhelming evidence may one be convicted of a crime and then, potentially, locked up. Where, as here, a crime cannot even be articulated or brought forth, the cacophony is that of the mobs at the Roman Colosseum. What they want is blood instead of justice. What Trump encourages them to do is to subvert the rule of law.
In early July of this year, FBI Director James Comey, a Republican who is respected on both sides of the aisle for his fairness and impartiality, stated, “After a tremendous amount of work over the last year, the FBI… complete(d) its investigation and referr(ed) the case to the Department of Justice for a prosecutive decision… With respect to the thousands of emails we found that were not among those produced to State, agencies have concluded that three of those were classified at the time they were sent or received, one at the Secret level and two at the Confidential level. There were no additional Top Secret emails found… let me tell you what we found: we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information… our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring… a case (against Clinton for her “carelessness”) … we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts.”
The facts are simply the facts. The rest is political spin.
What does the nation stand for?
The lock her up-ers have succumbed to Trump’s fascist way of thinking, in which retribution for perceived slights and self-aggrandizement trump justice. These are not the principles upon which these United States was founded, not what the patriots of the Revolution spilled their blood for, not what the brave young men who stormed Utah or Omaha Beaches gave their lives for.
If the lock her up-ers truly love their county, they must reject the perversion of what this nation stands for in the service of expediency and Trump’s self-serving goals.
By the way, it was recently suggested in the pages of this paper that “it has been reported” that Trump graduated first in his class at Wharton, couching it specifically as, “in 1973 and again in 1986, the New York Times reported” that he had graduated first in his Wharton class. Um… no. He didn’t. Trump spent his first two years in Fordham and, by pulling family strings, wrangled his way to Wharton, where he neither graduated with honors nor distinguished himself in any way.
The dissembling of The Donald and his acolytes smells a lot like Berlin just before the turn of the new year, 1933.
Trump, we are better than that. If you truly wish to serve this nation rather than yourself, perhaps you should begin by reading, understanding and embracing the Constitution.
Rohn K. Robbins is an attorney licensed before the bars of Colorado and California who practices in the Vail Valley with the law firm of Stevens, Littman, Biddision, Tharp and Weinberg LLC. His practice areas include business and commercial transactions, real estate and development, family law, custody, divorce and civil litigation. Robbins may be reached at 970-926-4461 and at either of his email addresses, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.