Saturday, November 13, 2004

Judging the Constitution

Visually, Andrew “The Judge” Napolitano is most notable for his advancing hair line. This frequent commentator on the Fox News cable channel has a new book out, his first, titled “Constitutional Chaos.” I’m several dozen pages into the copy I bought yesterday. It’s not that the book is slow reading, on the contrary, but the subject matter at times forces me to stop to catch my breath. With this book Mr. Napolitano has rendered starkly clear what for me had previously been inchoate perceptions regarding the non-constitutionality of many law enforcement and jurisprudential activities.

While the evidence at times may seem only anecdotal, the anecdotes are in many cases Supreme Court decisions that basically shred the Constitution. So much for trusting our robed guardians, the venerable Supremes. Their supposed wisdom often proves no more than a cruel joke when it comes to protecting and preserving even those rights that are constitutionally explicit.

“Breaking the law” to enforce it is the subject of part one. The Judge repeatedly drives home the hypocrisy and injustice of law enforcement agents at all levels of the system having little or no compunction about lying to convict those who, in some cases, they even know to be innocent - as was the man who spent thirty years in the clink for a mob hit that nearly all those prosecutorially involved knew he didn’t commit, including FBI agents who were busy protecting a known criminal.

America and the world were shocked, shocked I say, at the Abu Ghraib prison abuses portrayed as evidence of America’s barbarity. But once I learned about Janet Reno’s torture - literally torture - of a Dade county prisoner in an effort to “persuade” her to point an accusing finger at a man with whom Reno was obsessed to convict as a child abuser, well, I was convinced that we need the Red Cross and U.N. to start visiting our American prisons. Those pesky Iraqis and military types have nothing on our domestic incarcerators. No, indeed.

I will take my time finishing this book and will report on more of its very disturbing but enlightening contents as I go along. But the pace must be slow as when one is eating a rich food. You just cannot take too much, too quickly. I’m afraid I would be in for a severe overload and shorting-out of my psyche if I pushed ahead at too undauntedly a pace.

Constitutional Chaos” – link to Barnes & Noble (I get no take!)


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