Every American who’s paying attention realizes the ongoing battle between the White House and House Democrats is partisan to the bone. That can be expected in the polarized state of partisan politics, but the judiciary is supposed to be above party politics. Unfortunately, we’ve seen time and time again that this is not the case. Arguably the most egregious example of this just happened today as a a federal judge broke every rule in the book by ordering the Department of Justice to hand over grand jury material to Congress that came from the Mueller investigation.
District Court Judge Beryl Howell ruled the DoJ must hand over certain redacted portions from the investigation’s grand jury testimonies. This flies in the face of every established norm pertaining to grand juries, and her reasoning for it doesn’t even attempt to hide the fact that this is partisan politics being waged from the bench.
“In carrying out the weighty constitutional duty of determining whether impeachment of the President is warranted, Congress need not redo the nearly two years of effort spent on the Special Counsel’s investigation, nor risk being misled by witnesses, who may have provided information to the grand jury and the Special Counsel that varies from what they tell [the House Judiciary Committee],” Howell wrote in her decision.
Yes, Congress absolutely MUST redo the two years of effort spent during Mueller’s investigation, at least as it pertains to the grand jury. She’s essentially saying this is necessary to streamline their efforts, which is both unprecedented and highly irregular. Grand juries are, by their very nature, secret and independent of any future investigations even when they pertain to the same subjects. Grand juries are protected for a reason. They are empowered to determine the merits of potential charges and must be allowed to do so without the scrutiny of future revelations.
What the Obama-appointed judge is doing is throwing out one of the most important and protected tools available to prosecutors for the sake of helping Democrats in their impeachment quest. It tosses out established law for the sake of partisan considerations, then hides behind the Constitution to justify it. In essence, she’s saying the role of the legislative branch to impeach the President supersedes all other considerations, including the time-tested wisdom of keeping grand jury investigations sealed. It is up to the original prosecutor – in this case Robert Mueller – to determine what pieces of the grand jury investigation are to be used. He did that with his report. Opening up the notebook he used to come to his conclusions weakens the sanctity of grand jury investigations going forward.
Sadly, it’s all being done to make things easier for Democrats in the House, which is a piss-poor excuse for attacking a fundamental component of our criminal justice system. She’s giving them a little boost that tears down the necessary veil of grand juries. If this decision isn’t reversed, it sets precedent that undermines federal prosecutors going forward, all for the sake of Trump Derangement Syndrome.
If the situation were reversed and Republicans were using the overpowered judicial branch to destroy the efficacy of grand juries, I would be equally dismayed. My perspective has nothing to do with the subject matter and everything to do with condemning an activist judge making the wrong call for the sake of giving one political party a leg up on the other.
A judge who is willing to weaken the immensely important protections afforded to prosecutors and grand juries for the sake of party politics is unworthy of the bench behind which she sits. The stench of judicial activism is pervasive throughout.
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