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Do We Really Want 4,000 Political Prosecutors?

The 91 Charges filed in four different prosecutions against Donald Trump, are only the latest in a 20-year trend in America to "criminalize " political differences. So far, the cases have been nearly all by Democrat prosecutors against Republicans - or occasionally against rival Democrats. But what happens if all of America's 4,000-plus prosecutors - 3/4 of them Republicans - join the game.

There were the indictments of Republican US House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (2005-ultimately dismissed); Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (2014 by Obama prosecutor Jack Smith, ultimately dismissed by a unanimous US Supreme Court); and Texas Governor Rick Perry (2014 - ultimately dismissed).

Both Perry and McDonnell were leading GOP candidates for US President when they were indicted - frivolously - by Democrat prosecutors. And the indictments "did the trick" by derailing their presidential hopes.

And lets not forget the "payback" against "disloyal" Democrats US Senator John Edwards (2011 - by Jack Smith - yes that guy again - hung jury and charges dropped); and US Senator Bob Menendez (2015 - by Jack Smith - yes that guy yet again - mistrial, charges later dropped).

There are some 3,000 independently-elected District Attorneys in America. Add to that the 93 federal US Attorneys, 50 State Attorney's General, and hundreds of state, federal and agency Special prosecutors, and you have over 4,000 independent prosecutors - each with the power to indict, arrest and prosecute.

In the Trump Georgia case, the DA filed charges against federal officials and their attorneys for giving "false legal advice" which "could have" deprived voters of their choice in a close election.

But what if that legal standard is applied equally ? Professors Lawrence Tribe and Michael Luttig published an article last month arguing that Trump is barred from appearing on the ballot, citing the "insurrection" language of the 14th Amendment. Based on that article, Democrat officials are now trying to remove Trump from the ballot.

Most constitutional scholars view the Tribe-Luttig argument as crack-pot. Because Congress never declared an insurrection (unlike in 1861); and there were never legal charges and no Court has ever convicted Trump of "insurrection." So, should Luttig and Tribe - and those Democratic officials acting on their advice - be criminally charged and arrested for promoting a "false legal theory" ?

Political prosecutions can seem "fun" at the time. An opportunity by one party to personally humiliate and often bankrupt their political opponents. But turnabout is then inevitable, and just ups the ante - and tears to shreds the social contract and the oft-proclaimed "norms and standards" of a civilized democracy.

Let us be very careful about gleefully unleashing our Jacobins - who would jail and terrorize our political opponents. None of us will like the terrors and cruelties of this new country we are rapidly creating.


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