The intent of the law is to ensure society remains civilized. Laws are meant to protect people from wrongdoing and prevent citizens from becoming victims of immoral behavior. No one is ever intended to be to be legibus solutus, or above the law. Ulpian, a second century Roman legal scholar, famously stated that "Justice is the constant and perpetual will to render to every man his due." More simply put, justice is far reaching, and no one should wield the power to overcome it. Of course, the modern American legal system doesn't operate that way. It's broken, and has been for a long long time. The next president must take major steps to ensure justice is restored to the justice system. Unfortunately, neither Trump nor Clinton are going to be the ones to do it.
After the FBI's disclosure to Congress Friday that they had resumed the investigation into Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee promptly blasted the bureau for holding a double standard; that Trump had directed the Russian government to hack her private emails to tip the election in his favor. Whether or not that is true remains to be seen, and although it is undoubtedly Russia who breached Clinton and company emails, it would be excruciatingly difficult to prove that they did so at Trumps directive.
Hillary Clinton is right though, there is a double standard. But not between Republicans and Democrats. Instead it is between the political elite and the everyday American. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have without question violated the law in one way or another at one point or another throughout there careers. Whether it be Trump soliciting foreign donations or Clinton's emails, neither candidate has been above board. The beauty of a presidential election is that it exposes the true character of the people running for office.
But despite their wrongdoings we haven't seen either individual in a court of law, no docket has come down with there name on it, and neither have had to really answer for their contempt. Yet average American's are locked away every single day for committing far less heinous crimes. They are given no voice, no defense, only a lifetime of systematic disenfranchisement. So yes a double standard exists, but it isn't between party's, rather it's between social classes.
Originally,the FBI stated early this year that while Clinton violated federal statue, she would not be charged. This was not due to a lack of evidence, but instead because there was no counselor in the country that would bring a case against the Democratic nominee. Essentially, the FBI said that she's just too strong; that despite her wrongdoing no capable attorney would in their right mind bring Hillary Rodham Clinton before a jury of her peers.
This sets a dangerous precedent, a 'too big to jail' precedent. We've seen this already with big banks during the financial crisis. Despite predatory practices that contributed (and no, not single handily as Senator Sanders would have you believe) to the downfall of the US economy, not a single executive was ever charged, criminal or civil. Now, as was inevitable, politicians are being held to the same standard as Wall Street, which is a standard above the standard. In other words, the public is held accountable to one degree, while large firms and politicians are held accountable to some degree.
Impeachment v Trial
It could be argued that this above-the-law reasoning is invalid because politicians, including presidents, have been historically brought to reckoning for their indiscretions. Hillary Clinton's husband, former president Bill Clinton, faced impeachment proceedings in the wake of the infamous Monica Lewinsky scandal. But the case against Bill was politically motivated, and not simply done in the name of justice.
It's also important to examine the difference's between Hillary and Bill. The most powerful legislative body in the world held proceedings against the most powerful person in the world. The Congress acts no only as judge, jury, and executioner, but prosecutor as well. In comparison, a trial against Hillary Clinton would require a special prosecutor under supervision of the Department of Justice, a federal judge and their courtroom, and most importantly, an impartial jury of her peers, something that would be incredibly difficult to assemble given her status in American society.
But Did the FBI Break the Law Too?
The greatest irony in the latest announcement of Clinton is the love-turned-hate relationship the Democratic party now has with Comey and the FBI. What started as praise by the left and hatred by the right has quickly flipped. Republicans, including presidential candidate Donald Trump, have applauded the FBI for starting back up their investigation into Hillary Clinton. GOP hopefuls pounced on the news to try to sway voters in a close race for control of the Senate. Simultaneously Democrats mercilessly assaulted Comey as a rule breaker, who's blatantly attempting to sway the election in favor of Trump. Retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid sent a letter to the director earlier this week to accuse him of violating the Hatch Act, a federal law designed to prevent appointed officials from using their authority to influence public elections.
But did Comey violate the law? The answer is, probably not. Although he did go against the best wishes of the DoJ, he did so intending to remain transparent, believing that if he did not disclose the ongoing investigation of Secretary Clinton, it would appear as a cover-up to the American public. The fact that the White House see's no foul play, makes the case against Comey even weaker. In addition, any "reasonable prosecutor" would need to prove that Comey had intent to sway the election, something that would be near impossible to prove since only Comey knows Comey's intentions.
Justice Will (Not) Prevail
So, yes Hillary Clinton did break the law. At the very least she perjured herself before the United States Congress and at the very worst comprised classified information and in turn national security. But for those hopeful that this will be the straw that broke the camels back, don't hold your breath. The FBI and Department of Justice have had opportunity after opportunity to rightfully bring a case against the candidate, and they haven't. Now, in the closing days of the 2016 election, it would be in bad faith to charge her with anything, especially without smoking gun evidence, evidence that hasn't surfaced once yet. But, as the late great Ronald Reagan pointed out, it is never okay to not hold a law breaker personally accountable for their actions.
"We must reject the idea that every time a law is broken society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the american precept that each individual is accountable for their actions."
— Ronald Reagan
Editors Note: Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have lied extensively to the American people over the course of their campaigns. They are both bigots who support more powerful government and will most certainty continue to strip away the freedoms of the American people. Both individuals are grossly lacking in character and judgement and should never be entrusted to lead the free world.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.