The Separation of Powers Which Define Our Democracy Have Been Destroyed

The Department of Justice told a federal court this week that the NSA’s spying “cannot be challenged in a court of law”.

(This is especially dramatic given that numerous federal judges and legal scholars – including a former FISA judge – say that the FISA spying “court” is nothing but a kangaroo court.)

Also this week, the Department of Justice told a federal court that the courts cannot review the legality of the government’s assassination by drone of Americans abroad:

“‘Are you saying that a US citizen targeted by the United States in a foreign country has no constitutional rights?’ [the judge]  asked Brian Hauck, a deputy assistant attorney general. ‘How broadly are you asserting the right of the United States to target an American citizen? Where is the limit to this?’

“She provided her own answer: ‘The limit is the courthouse door’ . . . .

“‘Mr. Hauck acknowledged that Americans targeted overseas do have rights, but he said they could not be enforced in court either before or after the Americans were killed.’”

(Indeed, the Obama administration has previously claimed the power to be judge, jury and executioner in both drone and cyber-attacks.  This violates Anglo-Saxon laws which have been on the books in England and America for 800 years.)

The Executive Branch also presents “secret evidence” in many court cases … sometimes even hiding the evidence from the judge who is deciding the case.

Bush destroyed much of the separation of powers which made our country great.  But under Obama, it’s gotten worse.

For example, the agency which decides who should be killed by drone is the same agency which spies on all Americans.

Daniel Ellsberg notes that even the Founding Fathers didn’t have to deal with a government claiming that it could indefinitely detain Americanseven on American soil.

After Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges, journalist Naomi Wolf, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and others sued the government to enjoin the NDAA’s allowance of the indefinite detention of Americans – the judge asked the government attorneys 5 times whether journalists like Hedges could be indefinitely detained simply for interviewing and then writing about bad guys. The government refused to promise that journalists like Hedges won’t be thrown in a dungeon for the rest of their lives without any right to talk to a judge

The Department of Justice has also tapped Congressional phones, and a high-level NSA whistleblower says that including all 9 Supreme Court justices.

It’s not just the Executive Branch which has attacked the courts.  For example, Congress passed a bill stripping courts of the power to review issues related to genetically modified foods.

The Constitution is mortally mounded.  While the “war on terror” is commonly cited as the excuse, most of the attacks on our rights started before 9/11.  Indeed, the Founding Fathers warned 200 years ago that open-ended wars give the Executive an excuse to take away our liberties.

Two former U.S. Supreme Court Justices have warned that America is sliding into tyranny.   A former U.S. President, and many other high-level American officials agree.

In addition to attacks on the judiciary by the White House and Congress, judges are voluntarily gutting the justice system … and laying down in lapdog-obeisance to D.C.

For example, the Supreme Court ruled that if judges don’t like plaintiffs’ allegations of bad government actions, the judge can simply pre-judge and throw out the lawsuit before even allowing the party to conduct any discovery to prove their claims.   This guts 220 years of Constitutional law, and makes it extremely difficult to challenge harmful government action in court.

America has a “dual justice system … one for ordinary people and then one for people with money and enormous wealth and power”.

Indeed, most Americans have less access to justice than Botswanans … and are more abused by police than Kazakhstanis.

Category: Legal, Think Tank

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

23 Responses to “America No Longer Has a Functioning Judicial System”

  1. Ronde Denver says:

    I have not generally been a fan of your posts that wander off economic topics, but this needed to be said. It’s an exhaustive, excellent summary of the problem, and it’s a problem that is exacerbated by both parties, by our entire political class. Why aren’t more people aware of this, much less outraged? Keep this up, much appreciated.


    BR: To Review, you don’t like the posts that are off economics and disagree with your views, but this off topic piece that you do agree with is ok.
    And people wonder why I debate getting rid of comments . . .

  2. DTouche says:

    Outstanding post. Thanks for spreading the word.

  3. PeterR says:

    “I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.”

    HAL — 2001 — A Space Odyssey


    Why is America the greatest country in the world?

  4. Robert M says:

    As an “ordinary person”, thank you for publishing this.

  5. cowboyinthejungle says:

    Recognizing and contemplating these injustices is often a lonely endeavor. The utter lack of interest in such fundamental issues by most Americans leaves one to battle emotions ranging from anger to despair.

    Thanks for covering this sort of thing, BR. It is professionals like you, which already have audience with reasonable folks, that are needed to turn the tide of public perception. Anyway, what good will financial investing do when we are dead or imprisoned in some 21st century gulag?

  6. Molesworth says:

    What is the solution? What can I do? A scary narrative without a solution is fearmongering.

    • Petey Wheatstraw says:

      There is a distinct difference between sounding an alarm and fearmongering.

      What DO we do? The same thing the Roman citizenry did: Nothing.

      What SHOULd we do? Take our government back through the legitimate election process and put those who have subverted our Constitutional government on trial. If we got real about our Prison Nation complex, the jails would be emptied of victimless criminals and filled (to less than capacity), by our former political/corporatist members of the oligarchy.

      The seriousness of what has taken place cannot be overemphasized.

      • Molesworth says:

        You are right. I regretted fear-mongering the moment I pushed the send button. That said, sounding an alarm without giving the reader a “to do” list will just make us, as Lewis Black would say,…sad.
        You say we take our country back through elections. But, which candidates? Both Reps and Dems are backing this stuff.
        As best I can tell, there is no pol beating a drum other than Ron Wyden.
        I used to trust Dianne Feinstein, but she’s known about this all along.
        Will Hillary Clinton stop it?
        The only Reps who might stop it would be the libertarians. But I don’t know what they think really. They appear to be nut cases after a few sentences come out of their mouths.
        Help me understand who help change things. Elizabeth Warren? Who?

      • Molesworth says:

        Thought I’d replied, but apparently I didn’t.
        You are right about fearmongering. I regretted it as I hit the send button. But writer still needs to give us an action plan.
        You say elections. I ask Who? Who cares about this? Ron Wyden? Who else?
        Dianne Feinstein? No. She’s known all along.
        Any Republican?
        I care. You care.
        Which pols care about this?

      • Petey Wheatstraw says:

        Hey, Molesworth,

        I got both replies.

        Not sure how we introduce new, non-status quo candidates. It would have to be a real groundswell movement, and I don’t know if we have what it takes.

        I think we need to overcome the infotainment/propaganda industry that replaced news/journalism when we deregulated, but then, how do we do that?

        The future looks bleak, as long as the electorate is incapable of comprehending the real dangers of what we have allowed.

      • Molesworth says:

        I prefer not to believe in bleak. Something will change. There is a solution. This too shall pass. The suicide of a street vendor ignited a regional revolution. As long as someone is alert, beating a drum, giving us yayhoos an action plan, something will break. Maybe we need to impeach John Roberts. I don’t know. But something. Cheers. M

  7. VennData says:

    ROFL. Tagged comedy I’m sure.


    So Washer, Let’s turn these Glaxo Crooks over to the Chinese. ​Yank them out of their suburban McMansions and execute ‘em

    China. Now that’s where there’ some justice. Not this “Anglo-Saxon justice” to which I demand to be under, sharia like!!!

    Yeah get me under those laws from the pre-Norman conquest days. ROFL!

  8. > (This is especially dramatic given that numerous federal judges and legal scholars – including a former FISA judge – say that the FISA spying “court” is nothing but a kangaroo court.)

    That’s a dead link WB, also also on your blog.

  9. Livermore Shimervore says:

    Reality: If it wasn’t for subverting the Constitution, we might not have had a Republic past the Civil War.
    The Constitution is violated with such convenient regularity, I really wonder why people still think it relevant.
    For example, there is no Constitutional basis to allow the Federal Govt to tax you for many of the safety net benefits that the citizenry would decapitate their nearest elected rep if they ever so much as thought about voting eliminating entitlements. Which is great for the govt because if not for that extra tax cash, running into a deficit each year would actually have real and immediate implications.

    While targeting Americans who openly admit allegiance towards acts of murdering Americans and its allies on YouTube, is a rarity, the actions to deal with these people quickly should not be considered in the same light as those who would proclaim innocence and would actually demonstrate a desire to actually show up to a Federal Court when ordered to do so. I’m all for due process but I also like to get on the subway without getting blown up.

    • Petey Wheatstraw says:

      As I see it, we still have the second clause of the 2nd Amendment, and the full power of the 3rd (which no one really needs).

  10. Angryman1 says:

    Just not on the federal level, the entire law enforcement/judicial system is malfunctioning all over the US. To much, jail, fines and other bs for petty stuff that a good warning would solve. The fines especially have gotten rediculous with muni’s and townships looking for extra cash.

  11. cschene says:

    I started travelling around the world on business to EU, Asia and Canada and it took me about 6 months to realize I was fed a load of crap about the US being the greatest country in the world. My friends in the EU and Canada have far better lives where the get far more net value for their labor than we do. A lot of Americans are just lazy minded and ignorant and they believe the bullshit about USA being the best.

    Most of the other countries I visited don’t abuse their poor as we do, for example, by charging the working poor outrageous predatory capitalist medical rates that force them to choose between proper food and clothing and medical care for their children or the consumption of any meager savings they may have. They don’t have a system where the pharmaceutical companies have a drug market protected from competition, give a “no bid” Medicare contract to the drug companies whose net result is that we pay twice as much for medical care as the rest of the world. They don’t have a system where they allow title loan companies to steal the automobiles of the poorest and most desperate people and change 100’s of percent annual interest.
    The US is a state capitalist system where the very richest .01% control the country through bribery or the legislature, POTUS and Supreme Court. The US is an extremely corrupt plutocracy.
    What we do have is the freest country in the world with the best constitution when it comes to free speech. The government and Pinkerton security guards (ala Carnegie steel) no longer have the ability to threaten is with violence and we can for the most part freely protest to address our grievances and we can take back the country if we work together. But we have an apathetic population that takes in hook line and sinker the corporate propaganda we get through the corporate control media.
    I am a few years from retirement and for the remainder of my non working life I plan to help educate people and show them how we can take out country back. Thanking Peter R for the Hal quote:
    “I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.”

    Chris Schene

  12. Nozzala says:

    I don’t believe the answer is in elections – I think it’s in a Constitutional Convention. I came across this (here?) – if 34 states request a Constitutional Convention, Congress shall (read must, mandatory, no discretion….) call one. The author, Michael Stokes Paulsen (Distinguished Chair and Professor of Law, University of St. Thomas School of Law), asserts that we are much closer to this than we appear. As of June 2, 2011, only one state between Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Wyoming need call for one, and game on. This is the lever to push.

    Published in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 34, p. 837, 2011 U of St. Thomas Legal Studies Research Paper No. 11-15.

  13. AtlasRocked says:

    Great post nozzala. You are correct voting won’t fix this.

    Only returning to a limited federal govt – protector of 1 set of equal rights – will fix our dive.

    We have a govt of privileges for preferred groups now.

    Two – or more – “rights” make a wrong.

  14. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    The last time we tried this (I believe it was the ERA), we couldn’t get it done. If I remember correctly, it was not ratified by the states, even though both houses of Congress passed it. Today, I don’t think the Congress would move on it.

  15. James Shannon says:

    Everybody Knows – Leonard Cohen. – YouTube
    The Fix is In! What are we going to do about it?

  16. fiquin says:

    Justice never existed anywhere. Justice always represented agreements between the so-called greats to influence society as a whole. Besides being a beatiful concept.