Prosecutorial Discretion: Plenty for Me; But None for Thee

Republican “strategists,” Party functionaries, and Congresspeople, are saying, with considerable emotion and rage, that the President’s Executive Order allowing undocumented immigrants goes beyond presidential authority under the Constitution in the areas of law enforcement and prosecutorial discretion, claiming that he must enforce the law without bias, in a manner consistent with his oath to uphold the Constitution. They’ve made similar claims in relation to his decision to delay for one year the requirement that employers with over 50 employees provide health care coverage or pay penalties, and have now gone to court to get relief from this “horrible” action relieving the financial burden on one of the Republicans supposed favorite constituencies, non-small businesses.

On the other hand, the President’s unwillingness to investigate, prosecute and seek convictions against:

— banksters, Wall Street, and related company executives, for frauds, such as “liar’s loans”, and frauds in derivative sales, connected to the crash of 2008, and for those continuing even today, especially in the area of mortgage foreclosures where, evidently, robo- signing is still alive and well;

— torturers, whose rear-ends the Administration is still actively trying to protect by opposing the release of the Senate’s Report US involvement in torture activities;

— Intelligence community functionaries or former functionaries who have been caught in lies to Congress;

— Intelligence community operatives and functionaries who violate constitutional rights of privacy and laws prohibiting dragnet surveillance and searches among people;

— Police who systematically violate civil liberties and civil rights with impunity across the country; and

— Government Senior Executive Service officials and Civil Servants at the IRS who do not prosecute for perjury, so-called section 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations that are plainly political organizations, because they perform very little or any “social welfare” activities at all, while tax legislation, if not the enforcment code, plainly uses the word “exclusively” with respect to such activities when defining the category of social welfare organizations;

bothers these same Republicans, and many Democrats too, not at all.

Did I forget something? Anyway, it’s plain to any sentient observer that both this Administration, and any others you care to name, have habitually targeted certain crimes and criminals and let others off the hook, based on executive choices and prosecutorial discretion.

However, targeting and prioritization in prosecutorial discretion is supposed to be based on resource limitations, and getting maximum law enforcement impact out of existing resources. But, now decisions to investigate and prosecute, seem biased according to economic status, political criteria, and involvement of authorities. The guiding principle seems to be to enforce when it will repress and punish the have-nots, and to ignore, when that will benefit the haves, especially the 1%.

A subsidiary principle seems to be to avoid punishing have-nots, like police, when they commit crimes in the process of repressing other have-nots, because doing that is important for maintaining “law and order,” which, in turn, is really, really, important for ensuring that the haves will not be molested by the have-nots, should they decide to retaliate against the haves for the periodic looting of the have-nots the haves periodically indulge in without legal consequences.

So, the President got so many Republicans angry at him two days ago, because he was using prosecutorial discretion to benefit have-nots, namely oppressed immigrants, rather than to benefit the haves and those protecting them. But I don’t believe for a minute that their rage and irate language was due to some deep desire for equal justice under the law. Because, if that were true then why is it that our jails aren’t filled with banksters, fraudsters, torturers, intelligence officials, police who murder and brutalize people, and IRS officials who won’t enforce the law that says that 501 c (4) social welfare organizations must be engaged exclusively in social welfare activities?

4 responses to “Prosecutorial Discretion: Plenty for Me; But None for Thee

  1. The Rule of Law, one of the greatest lies told over and over to a gullible consumer, so he can be manipulated by corporations for profit! We are clearly in one of the saddest and most corrupting periods of our collective history. This can not go on much longer, the government is broken and We The People need to wake! I’m afraid it may be too late to save the little people from further harm!

  2. After Pres. Obama has followed policies so very loving to the elite republican class for so many years, I have ruled out all but one reason he is so hated; racism. I’ll say it to their faces, they are racist, period and I think Obama should call them on it and NOT relent during the inevitable blowback. Regarding the executive order on immigration, the reporting suggests that it’s not even a gray area, the president has that authority and is in the tradition of republicans and dems as they have doe the same, yet there are boneheads in some areas yelling “impeach,” … again nothing but racism. I tell them prove otherwise; they’re checkmated.

  3. UMKC Economics Undergrad

    I don’t find claims of racism very compelling because the more important issue in our two-party system or (as Ralph Nader has rightly called it) our two-party dictatorship, is political theater. Economist Dr. Richard Wolff’s isolated complaints of the Democrat Party’s collusion with the Republican Party during the so-called ‘debt ceiling’ crisis seem to have fallen on deaf ears because it’s a foregone conclusion that the roughly one-third of eligible voters who bother to vote have accepted this political cartel. And so-called people of conscience, liberals, vote Democrat, or spew apologia, because they prefer to vote for the least worst than to fight for participatory democracy, which doesn’t circumscribe our political process to two anti-working class parties funded and captured by the same elite corporate and F.I.R.E. sector campaign donors.

    So, while some Republicans may be racist, their bigotry is a problem of secondary order because it is only a pretext to the larger goals of serving elite economic interests, one of which is to create the illusion of fundamental socioeconomic difference between the nation’s two monopolistic political parties.

    The two Wall Street parties merely diverge on hot-button, identity politics-type issues, or ‘red meat issues’, which carry little-to-no economic consequences, but which are sufficiently inflammatory to superficially differentiate (in the minds of the the majority within the uncritical minority of the USA population, which bothers to vote) two corporate-funded parties, essentially, funded and corrupted by the same elites. Whenever the Republican Party has lacked votes in Congress, the Democrat Party has betrayed it’s ideals by allowing just enough Democrats to ‘cross the aisle’ and give the Republican Party enough votes to prevail. One example is the so-called ‘People’s Budget’ (some years back), which the so-called ‘Progressive Caucus’ Democrats claimed to support, but which was easily defeated thanks to the porous Democrat Party line.

    It seems the working class needs a truly oppositional people’s party, so as to stop naively supporting the Democrat (or Republican) Parties, which are votes against working class interests. People say they’ll vote for the lesser of two evils, which is to say the least worst, instead of the best candidate or political party, which their logical conclusions find to be the best choice. But we never seem to question why we must have a winner-take-all system or why we cannot have ranked-choice-voting, where we can have, as first choice, that treasured idealistic candidate or political party be our first choice, followed by second and third choices to whom our vote can be transferred in the event our first choice is eliminated from the election. We claim we don’t want to ‘throw away’ our votes, but we lack the imagination to fight for ranked-choice voting. We, the people, do not seem terribly interested in resisting the ‘Top-Two’ primary legislation being pushed and now festering in numerous states across the nation, which are creating barriers to entry to political alternatives. We, the people (especially activist leaders, who should know better) never seem to question why we no longer have more than two political parties up on stage during major debates, such as presidential campaign debates.

    It seems clear the two dominant Wall Street/bankster parties do not want, say, socialist or green alternatives debating them before national audiences because they’d handily lose in the court of public opinion. This is why they’ve supplanted the neutral League of Women Voters and installed a corporate, for-profit, group to run the political theater known as presidential debates. What’s not so clear is why people of conscience, who are not apathetic to the status quo, do not fight for these things, which includes progressive electoral evolution, nor include them as essential components of their activism or sociopolitical consciousness and instead allow themselves to be distracted by ‘red meat’ issues.

  4. Joe’s analysis inspires and rouses thoughtful progressives. I agree with you of course, but as a point of order I think you’re not exactly disagreeing with the idea that racism is the kernel of republican hatred and obstructionism versus Obama; you’re saying it’s not the essential problem we face. OK!