The Golden Rule of politics (Part 1)
Today OCGJ begins another multi-part series covering our two-tiered system of justice, one for the political class and the other for the rest of us. A distinguished defense acquisition executive once characterized the defense acquisition process as being held hostage to “The Golden Rule of Defense Acquisition,” or “He who has the gold, makes the rules.” Today OCGJ will add a corollary to that rule as it applies to politics…..“He who has the gold enforces the rules.” The political class has developed a “three-deep” defense to build a firewall between themselves and accountability to due process and the rule of law. First, they write the laws that are never intended to apply to selective members the political class. Then they enforce the rules with corrupt judges and “look-the-other-way” law enforcement. Finally, if and when these tactics fail, they plead “no contest,” take a nominal fine and walk away neither confirming nor denying any wrongdoing.
A perfect example is Michigan U.S. Representative John Conyers who fell 400 signatures short of the 1,000 needed to get on the August 5, 2014 primary ballot. Wayne County Clerk Kathy Garrett followed the law which disqualified the signatures because they were not collected and witnessed by a registered voter. Republican Secretary of State Ruth Johnson also upheld the law by ruling Conyers ineligible for the primary. But alas, a Democrat Judge appointed by Barack Obama saved the day in this twisted diatribe: “As Secretary of State Johnson implicitly acknowledged in her ruling today, if the signatures excluded pursuant to the Registration Statute may not be excluded from Mr. Conyers’ total – and this court holds that they may not be – then Mr. Conyers has enough signatures to qualify for placement on the ballot,” Judge Leitman wrote. Leitman’s inane judgment completely ignores the rule of law and due process, and instead uses a backdoor hypothetical and partisan politics to restore ballot access for the 84-year-old, 25-term incumbent. Had Conyers followed the law he still could have got on the ballot legally as a write-in candidate, but of course that would have been a bit of an inconvenience for such a privileged member of the political class.
Back in Ohio independent and third party candidates have a legitimate constitutional challenge to the primary ballot access conundrum. When this reporter ran as an independent for U.S. Congress in 2000 I had to collect over 2,600 signatures to get on the ballot. Compare that to 50 (that’s five – zero) for Republicans and Democrats. Where it took an independent candidate months of petitioning, a major party candidate could send one of his paid staff to a Republican or Democrat Party meet-up and collect enough signatures to qualify for ballot access in a few hours. If you can think of a law more unconstitutional than that, let us know.
Even worse, let’s say I came a few signatures short of the unconstitutional requirement of 2,640. My only recourse was to appeal to unelected bureaucrats at the Ohio Elections Commission appointed by a Republican or Democratic partisan, or appeal directly to the Secretary of State, also a partisan elected official whose job it is to protect Democrats and Republicans, two wings of the same bird of prey.
You may ask, “Why would our public servants turn a blind eye to due process and the rule of law, not to mention the constitutional rights of the citizen class? Pure and simple, it comes down to power and control. Those entrenched in the two-party monopoly are so terrified of the citizen class getting a foothold in their closed system they will stop at nothing to shut them out, including erecting a firewall between themselves and the rule of law. Furthermore, the two-tiered justice system also provides a vehicle to bail out those in the political class that have a dust-up with the law. Next week we’ll give you a real world example by revisiting the Anuszewski-Zinn Paradox, our inaugural January 1, 2014 post that shows what can happen when we fail to hold those accountable for violating the rule of law.