The Justice Department has shown such a clear bias against conservatives that in the last month, they have indicated both a sitting Democratic senator and the son of the Democratic president.
A Look at the Facts
The argument has been made over and over again in the last couple of years: There is a “two-tiered system of justice” in the United States, one that excuses the crimes of liberals and Democrats and punishes conservatives like Donald Truimp and Republicans.
This argument has been regularly marshaled in favor of Donald Trump, the January 6 defendants, and any other Republican or Trump supporter ever accused of any wrongdoing. It’s also the reason, according to this thinking, that Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama never got indicted for anything, while Donald Trump did.
A couple of things have happened in recent weeks, however, that proves just how wrong that argument is.
Earlier this month, Hunter Biden, the son of the president, was indicted on federal charges, on three counts related to his purchase of a gun in 2018. And then, on Friday, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) was indicted, along with his wife, of taking “hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes.” The government alleges that Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, accepted bribes from the Egyptian government. Menendez, due to caucus rules, will have to step down as chairman of the committee, at least temporarily.
The indictment, from the Southern District of New York, includes such colorful details as hundreds of thousands of cash and gold bars being found in the senator’s home.
This is not to be confused with the other time Menendez was indicted, in 2015, also for bribery as well as conspiracy and honest services fraud. That case ended in a hung jury and mistrial in 2017, and Menendez was easily re-elected in 2018. It was known previously that Menendez was under investigation once again, and he has not announced whether he plans to run again in 2024.
The Menendez charges, in particular, undermine the talk that Democrats are always working behind the scenes to manipulate the justice system for political gain. After all, the Justice Department has indicted a Democratic senator. And when Menendez was indicted the first time, it was during the Obama presidency, although the senator went on trial when Trump was president.
The Biden-era Justice Department, after all, has not indicted any Republican U.S. senators. Two House members, Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) were both indicted in separate cases during the Trump Administration; both were early endorsers of Donald Trump and both were pardoned by Trump before he left office.
Earlier this week, House Judiciary Committee Republicans grilled Attorney General Merrick Garland, with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) repeatedly declaring that “the fix is in.” Garland, for his part, swore that he had not interfered with the Hunter Biden case.
The phrase “two-tiered system of justice” is not new, and has even been used in the past by Democratic politicians like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and others who are supportive of criminal justice reform. More commonly, it’s referred to the very true fact that people who are poor have a very different experience with the justice system than those who are richer and can afford better attorneys.
“Low-income individuals end up with criminal records or jail time because they can’t afford bail or hefty fines and fees. Young people who commit low-level, nonviolent crimes spend too many years behind bars,” Sen. Warren wrote in a 2019 op-ed. “Struggling parents, domestic violence survivors, opioid users, and individuals with mental illness are hauled off to jail without treatment or assistance. And after they return to their communities, too many former inmates are locked out of jobs, housing, and any chance to rebuild their lives and support their families.”
That is correct. But the idea that there is one criminal justice system for Democrats and another for Republicans is just plain nonsense.
Author Expertise and Experience
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) at @StephenSilver, and subscribe to his Substack newsletter.
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