"Equal Protection Under the Law"

This is far off-topic for this blog and I dislike having to write this. But, I feel compelled to do so because of the political events of this week.
While it is distasteful, I'm going to defend Donald Trump. I am doing so because far too many of our intelligencia seem to have forgotten the basic, but crucial, Constitutional principle of “Equal Protection Under the Law” (EPUTL). 

As the Legal Information Institute puts it, 

Equal Protection refers to the idea that a governmental body may not deny people equal protection of its governing laws. The governing body state must treat an individual in the same manner as others in similar conditions and circumstances. 

What does this have to do with the Democrats’ impeachment investigation? Everything!


To understand EPUTL, I’d like to provide a simple example. Suppose there is a green grocer in NYC that puts a fresh bushel of apples in front of the store every day. The grocer sweeps his sidewalk at 1pm Monday as a policeman makes his rounds on and steals an apple. The grocer smiles and waves him on. One minute later, so does Politician Joe, who happens to be a Democrat. 

Tuesday, the same thing occurs. 

Same on Wednesday and Thursday.

On Friday at 1pm, the officer swipes his daily apple. One minute later, so does the Democrat. But, this time, a man known to the green grocer to be a Republican, sees the officer and the Democrat take apples. So, he takes one. The grocer shouts, “Arrest that man!”

When the case comes to trial, the judge weighs the evidence and dismisses the case, as a matter of law, before it ever reaches the jury. Why? Equal protection under the law. We cannot be "a nation of laws" and have people selectively prosecuted for their beliefs, their race, their religion, et. cetera. The laws must be applied evenly to all. 

Again, in the words of the Legal Information Institute,
Equal protection forces a state to govern impartially—not draw distinctions between individuals solely on differences that are irrelevant to a legitimate governmental objective.

How Does This Relate to Presidential Impeachment?

Richard Nixon was in the early stages of impeachment when he resigned. I believe he should have resigned, as he did, because he was obviously guilty of obstruction of justice. I voted for his opponent, George McGovern, the Democrat, because I did not believe we should have “a crook” (Nixon’s word) in the White House. Because of his felonious obstruction of justice, I would have supported the impeachment and removal of office of President Nixon. 

But, then, political parties changed. 
  • President Bill Clinton was impeached for perjury. A felony. What made his offense particularly egregious is that he was an attorney. Clinton was convicted of perjury by a federal judge (that he, himself, appointed) and forced to give up his license to practice law as a result of that conviction. I believe the Senate should have removed him from office as what he did, in the White House as part of his official duties, was clearly a “high crime or misdemeanor,” the Constitutional requirement for impeachment and removal from office. 
  • Out of office, Bill Clinton clearly obstructed justice when he met clandestinely with Loretta Lynch when their private jets rendezvoused at the Phoenix Airport. 
  • President Barack Obama clearly committed a felony when he threatened to sic the Internal Revenue Service on his political opponents and then did just that. The use of the IRS for political purposes is a stone cold felony. There was no impeachment. 
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton likely took multiple indirect bribes while in office (e.g., her husband receiving $1 million for a speech while she was allowing one-quarter of America’s uranium to be purchased by a Russian company).  There was no impeachment.
  • Vice President Joe Biden is on video saying he threatened the Prime Minister of the Ukraine with the loss of $1 billion in foreign aid if they continued to investigate his (highly corrupt) son. This (tying foreign aid to a criminal investigation) is what President Trump is accused of doing, only the evidence in President Trump’s case is less direct. Vice President Biden was not impeached. 
  • [Addition] It turns out that President Obama requested that the Ukraine investigate Paul Manifort. That exactly what President Trump is accused of doing. Of course, there was no impeachment. 
See where this is going?

I am not an attorney but there were multiple attorneys online yesterday who stated what President Trump discussed with the Prime Minister of the Ukraine (in the transcript) wasn’t even a crime. But, let’s assume it was. Given the track record of letting clear felonies by recent presidents, a vice president, and a secretary of state pass, impeaching President Trump would be a violation of the principle of EPUTL. 

But, you might say, President Trump is a total creep (I happen to agree)! That makes it different. No, it doesn’t. There are two reasons it does not. 

First, being a creep is not illegal. The Constitution specifies it must be a crime for impeachment, not a matter of taste or style

Second, the all-time winner in the “being a creep” sweepstakes is the late President Lyndon Johnson. His perversions were the stuff of, err, ‘legends.’ Here are a couple:

...if a colleague came into a Capitol bathroom as he was finishing at the urinal there, he would sometimes swing around still holding his member, which he liked to call 'Jumbo,' hooting once, 'Have you ever seen anything as big as this?,' and shaking it in almost a brandishing manner as he began discoursing about some pending legislation...Even on the floors of the House and Senate, he would extravagantly rummage away at his groin, sometimes reaching his hand through a pocket and leaning with half-lifted leg for more thorough access.

Johnson lived to dominate, and he used crass behavior to bend people to his will. At 6-ft., 3-in. tall and 210 lbs., he liked to lean over people, spitting, swearing, belching, or laughing in their faces. Once, he even relieved himself on a Secret Serviceman who was shielding him from public view. When the man looked horrified, Johnson simply said, "That's all right, son. It's my prerogative."His favorite power ploy, however, seemed to be dragging people into the bathroom with him—forcing them to continue their conversations with the president as he used the toilet.

He was notorious for having reporters and aides follow him into the bathroom where he would then conduct two kinds of business at once.

Yes, President Johnson ordered people to watch him defecate and then wipe himself. He also more or less forced himself on a female reporter for NBC News. President Johnson was not impeached and remains to hero to many in the Democratic Party.


Those in favor of impeaching President Trump, whether it be over, “Ukraine,” “Russia,” “emoluments,” or whatever this week’s reason happens to be have coined a word rejecting EPUTL, calling it “whataboutism.” 

As one resident of Washington, DC wrote to me yesterday, “Trump is President now. How does it help the country to have a lawless President?”

When I brought up the fact that it is alleged that Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has $10,000 in unpaid taxes she does not dispute but refuses to pay (a felony) and asked if she should be kicked out of the House of Representatives, he declined to reply. 

Evidently, some believe that the laws of our nation only apply to those affiliated with one of the two political parties. This is diametrically opposite of the vital "equal protection" clause of our Constitution. 

Opposing the impeachment of President Trump is not “whataboutism,” it is the principle of equal protection under the law – that laws are not for one political party or the other. Laws are not for one group but for everyone, equally. Equal protection is a vital Constitutional principle which protects all of us from a capricious prosecutor. 

There is a scene from the wonderful movie, A Man For All Seasons, that depicts the life of Saint Sir Thomas Moore. The dialog below explains why it is absolutely vital to be a nation of laws. "Rich" is Sir Richard, a creep who was spying on,  and undermining, Moore in his dispute with King Henry VIII. Moore's friends wanted Rich arrested, even though Rich had done nothing illegal. From the movie

More refuses, and insists Rich should remain free: “Go he should. If he were the devil himself, until he broke the law”. 

WILLIAM ROPER: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
SIR THOMAS MORE: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
ROPER: I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
MORE: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!
Let me state again: I do not personally care for President Trump, at all. I, too, think he is a creep. But, unless something highly illegal occurs -- that rises above the things for which recent Presidents and others have been given a "pass” -- I strongly oppose his impeachment under because of the Equal Protection Clause. Given that people in Washington have been plotting to impeach President Trump since literally his first day in office, his impeachment would amount to little more than a coup d'e´tat. 

And, that would make America a banana republic.   


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