9/22/2011

GG documents the living abortion that is the US justice system

Gleen Greenwald is out with a piece on a lawsuit brought by the ACLU against the government's illegal spying on its own citizens. Piece is here: http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/09/22/jacobs/index.html

This piece is particularly important because not only does it document so much we already know, the government by definition is now lawless, Obama has expanded and continued the crimes done under the Bush administration (while preventing any possible legal ramifications to be brought against said criminals), but also because it highlights just how fundametally flawed this system of government-provided law is. For instance:

All of that stands in very stark contrast to [federal judge] Dennis G. Jacobs.  Immediately after graduating law school, he want to work for a large Wall Street law firm -- Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett -- and stayed there until Ronald Reagan appointed him to a life-tenured federal judgeship.  How noble.  So the entirety of Jacobs' law career before becoming a judge was devoted to snorting up as much money as he could as he represented large corporations and banks.  That's the person who just anointed himself the arbiter and smearer of the integrity, psychology and motives of ACLU lawyers and their human-rights-activists clients for daring to challenge a government spying law on Fourth Amendment grounds. (emphasis mine)

Hmm, I wonder why appointing people to life-tenured federal judgeship based on political incentives might not be the best method for designing a just system of law? What's that? We have some examples of the type of lunatics we have serving as judges in the highest courts of the land? Do share:


After accusing the plaintiffs of harboring anti-Americanism for daring to enforce the mandates of the United States Constitution against precisely the activities most feared by the American Founders: unchecked domestic government spying (Jacobs announced his discovery that the plaintiffs' argument rests on a "buried assumption that the United States is the only threat to liberty that anyone anywhere needs to worry about"), he turned his scornful ire to the ACLU for the crime of representing these plaintiffs -- for free -- in a lawsuit to enforce the privacy rights of all American citizens.  Unprovoked, Jacobs posed the question of what could possibly motivate the ACLU and its clients to bring this lawsuit -- apparently, an actual belief that the law is unconstitutional and dangerous could not possibly be the real motive -- and this is the answer he supplied:

At the risk of being obvious, the purpose of this lawsuit is litigation for its own sake -- for these lawyers to claim a role in policy-making for which they were not appointed or elected, for which they are not fitted by experience, and for which they are not accountable. As best I can see, the only purpose of this litigation is for counsel and plaintiffs to act out their fantasy of persecution, to validate their pretensions to policy expertise, to make themselves consequential rather than marginal, and to raise funds for self-sustaining litigation.
He then added that this Constitutional challenge to the Government's secret spying powers "bears similarity to a pro se plaintiff’s allegation that the CIA is controlling him through a radio embedded in his molar."  Not content with maligning their motives and patriotism, he then all but accused the ACLU and its clients of lying in order to sustain the lawsuit ("these affidavits employ all the lawyer's arts to convey a devious impression . . . affidavits that are craftily worded to skirt actual falsehood").


Glenn then goes on to document how ironic such an attack is, considering the judge doing the attacking is a former corporate Wall St. employee and the ACLU lawyers he attacked have all given up the opportunity for similar lucrative careers to work for free, for those most in need. The whole article is a must read, but I think the closing hits the nail right on the head:

Of course, Jacobs is the living, breathing embodiment of judicial bias: a devoted servant to corporate and government power, a right-wing hack who barely attempts to hide his political loyalties, and -- most of all -- a declared enemy of the very few mechanisms that exist to enable the poor and marginalized to receive competent legal representation and for political power to be subject to some minimal checks (what we call "the Constitution").  It should be anything but surprising that a corporate-serving, political-power-revering, highly politicized figure like this produces judicial opinions that are slightly more restrained versions of a Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly rant.  He churns out right-wing agitprop masquerading as legal reasoning.
But the reason he's worth examining is because he's anything but aberrational.  He's the Chief Judge of the second- or third-most important court in the country.  He works in a judicial system that more and more does the opposite of what it was ostensibly designed to do: it is now devoted to shielding political officials from legal accountability and transparency rather than exposing them to it, enabling rather than halting transgressions of the Constitutional limits imposed on them, and most of all, further empowering the most powerful factions against the least powerful rather than equalizing the playing field.  In that regard, the life of Dennis G. Jacobs -- and his slanderous, contemptuous outburst of yesterday -- should be studied as a perfect embodiment of how the American judicial branch has become so corrupted as a tool for the nation's most powerful factions.

Glenn Greenwald might be the single best journalist Americans have. I encourage you to read him everyday. 

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