It is fitting this country be fraught, to the point of possible division, by our legal dysfunction. Our losing principle and clarity to our legal arms races are undermining the traditional foundations of the nation. The evolution is only emphasized by the latest effect of the cause: the potential Constitutional crisis that is the impeachment struggle.

Fitting, in the poetic irony sense, but not ‘just.’ Not ‘just’ because whatever damage is done will almost certainly not reach the damagers. They are re elected ninety percent of the time, no matter what they do.

Meanwhile, the laws they emit but are unwilling to follow have Americans incarcerated in greater numbers than the rest of the developed world combined. More than undeveloped and unfree Russia and China combined. There is an inevitability to our laws being politically weaponized, since they were long ago weaponized against lessers: we are unique among advanced nations in that we fail to draw a criminal distinction between the mentally ill, those compelled by addiction, and those with true criminal intent.

In civil law, we have a system where a legal affair can cost the defendant the value of a house, win or lose. Cases stretch years, making justice abstract by the time it plays out. Wealthy people choke clarity with the arms race of expense, as we saw in the Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein cases.

None of this dysfunction reaches the law-makers. The system suits them, as it makes them wealthy, important and necessary to navigate the thicket, while leaving it thicker for everyone else. It should surprise nobody that our knives-out political divisions have come down to opaque legal arguments, bare of substance and principal, which most people rightly call “lawyer tricks.”

Republican lawyer tricks are keeping us from an informed decision on impeachment: we might go through the process without ever having heard from the principal witnesses, Chief of Staff (acting), Mick Mulvaney and National Security advisor, John Bolton. I’d like to hear what they have to say. I can’t because of Republican lawyerly trickery (as of Jan 29, 2020). It is a disgrace that a pathological liar like President Trump will never, it seems, have his lies adjudicated in any courtroom.

Democrats frame impeachment as a President above the law, when they never appealed to it. The Sorcerer’s Apprentices of law, in this most lawyered-upon society in history, can’t apply existing law, so they have to conjure out of thin air: there is no such thing as “Obstruction of Congress.” We have three co-equal branches of government. Obstructing each other is by design. How would they react if President Trump tried to impeach a member of Congress for “obstructing” him? This conjuring contrasts poorly with three years of investigations by the Special Prosecutor into breaking laws that really do exist.

The Supreme Court was needed to find on the legitimacy of the Congressional inquiry. They were never asked. That would have made two co-equal branches against one, which would follow the Constitution, clarity and precedent.

Once, we were divided over a clear principle: freedom vs slavery. Can anyone name the principle of the impeachment divide?

Eugene Darden Nicholas

About Eugene Darden Nicholas

Eugene Darden (Ed) Nicholas is from Flushing Queens, where he grew up sheltered from the hard world, learning the true things after graduating college and becoming a paramedic in Harlem. School continues to inform and entertain in all its true, Shakespearean glory. It's a lot of fun, really. In that career, dozens of people walk the earth now who would not be otherwise. (The number depends on how literally or figuratively you choose to add). He added a beloved wife to his little family, which is healthy. He is also well blessed in friends and colleagues.


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