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Earned Distrust

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According to a Pew poll released Sunday night, trust in the federal government to do the "right thing" most of the time has fallen to a near all-time low of 22%.  According to the LA Times report, "The current level of public skepticism was matched previously only...from 1992 to 1995 (reaching a low of 17% trusting in government in the summer of 1994) and from 1978 to 1980 (bottoming out at 25% in 1980)."

Interestingly, trust in the federal government now  --  in the era of "hope and change"  --  is lower than at any point in the presidency of George W. Bush (or Richard Nixon for that matter).  Also notable is that, according to the LAT, "When the National Election Study first asked the question in 1958 [when Eisenhower was President], 73% of Americans said they trusted the government to do what was right most of the time."

From 73% to 22%.  Yikes.

The implications for criminal law are dire.  The prosecution of criminals is exclusively a government function, and its overall success depends in part  --  perhaps in large part  --  on public confidence in the judgment, honesty and good faith of prosecutors.  It also depends on confidence that prosecutorial decisions will not be political.  When public confidence is this low, sooner or later that is going to be reflected in skepticism and raised eyebrows in the jury pool and on the bench.

I would like to say this dim view of the federal government is unjustified, but I can't.  I'm not going to get into the reckless spending, the debt and weakness abroad, since they are not the subjects of this blog.  But distrust is what we have to expect when the Administration (1) supports giving Constitutional rights, civilian trials and Miranda warnings to alien terrorists; (2) nominates a radical to the already far-left Ninth Circuit; (3) endorses passage of the Crack Dealers Relief Act (i.e., lowering sentences for crack cocaine, as envisioned in legislation currently before the House); (4) nominates yet another radical to head the pivotal OLC; and (5) dismisses a voting rights case against Black Panthers in mufti, and carrying billy clubs, "patrolling" a polling station in Philadelphia.

Is that a government you would trust?

UPDATE:  This entry has been picked up by the blog Powerline, http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2010/04/026111.php

FURTHER UPDATE:  The Powerline blog that picked up this entry has itself been picked up in the "Best of the Blogs" section of the widely read "RealClearPolitics,"  http://www.realclearpolitics.com/best_of_the_blogs/.

4 Comments

The fall-off in trust in the legitiamcy and the good intentions of our government is an interesting turn of events. However, among the reasons that are suggested, one massive reason for the distrust has been ignored. Namely, there is no mention of the fact that the populace has had to watch the entire cohort of Representatives at all levels of government (no exceptions) plus the entire cohort of the judicial system (from the Supremes to the local justices) give the current inhabitant of the White House a pass on the issue of his background and citizenship status. The egregious lack of interest in defending the Constitution on this most basic issue has been stunning, and has led to the conclusion on the part of a large number of citizens that the leaderships of both parties are complicit in defrauding the nation. You only have to listen to the snickering that occurs when there is a question about the legitimacy of some aspect of the government to know that We The People are concluding that the government is not a friendly force, and the trashing of the Constitution is central to that opinion. Snide comments questioning the importance of this issue are being answered by the increased agreement (including from the left) that the current inhabitant of the White House does not seem to share the cultural understandings, impulses, or goals of the large majority of the rest of us. Precisely. That is why this issue is so important and why it was included as a provision in the Constitution.

We are now watching a surgeon who is serving in the active military and who is demanding that the relevant documents be produced. He is being threatened with courts martial and otherwise bullied because of his demand that the extremely substantive questions regarding the legitimacy of the commander-in-chief be cleared up. The press is complicit in misinforming the public that the issues have been adequately investigated and answered, ridicule questioners as "birthers", and fail to report on the large numbers of futile attempts that have been made to demand information through the courts. Only Lou Dobbs has had the courage to lay out for the public the extensive reasons for doubt about the legitimacy of the available information, and he was promptly fired. In short, the doubts about the legitimacy of our commander-in-chief continuously escalate, he can put these issues to rest and instead continues to bury all documentation, no agency supports demands that documents be released, and the press wonders why there is mistrust in the government. Indeed, the implications are dire altogether.

This blog is about criminal law.

There are 2 more reasons distrust is so high. 1. When Barach H Obama said that "We are 5 days away from fundamentally transforming America", the hair on the back of my neck stood up! He did not campaign on that subject so what did he mean? Now we know he meant to turn us into a socialist paradise for the redistribution of wealth. And 2. when he took over the car companies he threw the bondholders under the bus contrary to corporate law. We could see then that the law was utilized only when it suited him. He intended to be a dictator and not our president!

To quote what Mr. Scheidegger said, "This blog is about criminal law."

There will always be the hysterical howlers who claim that our current president, whomever that may be, is the embodiment of the antichrist. Bush is a Nazi! Obama is a socialist! Clinton is a murderer! Yada, yada, yada. Of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Next.

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