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July 24, 2022
Was Bannon found guilty because jury and judge feared a mob reaction if he were acquitted?
The spectacle, quite literally, of protesting crowds outside the homes of justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, should prompt an additional questions during the voir dire (pretrial examination of jurors) for trials that are likely to be politically sensitive, as, for example, last week's trial of Steve Bannon for contempt of Congress.
The question is: Are you concerned that if you find the defendant not guilty of refusing to comply with a subpoena issued by a House committee completely hand-picked by Speaker Pelosi, contrary to the rules of the committee, your home will be targeted for protests?
This question should also be asked of the judge who presides over a politically sensitive trial. After all, the Hon. Carl J. Nichols, the jurist presiding over the Bannon trial, by limiting the witnesses Bannon could call in his defense, seemed to make inevitable a guilty verdict, notwithstanding the fact, as I pointed out previously in American Thinker on July 20, that the committee ignored significant rules in House Res. 503, which is the resolution that created the committee.
Are depositions sought in a manner contrary to the rules of the committee valid? How else could Bannon have established that the committee ignored its own rules, but by questioning the chair of the committee, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson -- or "vice chair" Rep. Liz Cheney -- who, of course, should have been asked: "How did you become "vice chair" of the Jan. 6 committee when the rules establishing the committee do not call for a vice chair?" Ms. Cheney should also have been asked: "Didn't the authorizing resolution require a 'ranking member,' but, as a 'ranking member' is chosen by the minority, this committee lacks a 'ranking member'?" (The committee's rules called for consultations on depositions between the chair and ranking member. In the absence of such consultations, the depositions ordered by Chairman Thompson, arguably, were not valid.)
Counsel for Bannon might then have explained to jury and judge that "without consultations between chair and ranking members, the demand that my client sit for a deposition was illegitimate."
But questions making clear that the Jan. 6 committee acted in an ultra vires way could not be asked in the Bannon trial, as Judge Nichols did not permit questions of the chair of the committee, the phony "vice chair" of the committee or, indeed, of Speaker Pelosi who, as Newt Gingrich has stated, has conducted her position of highest responsibility as a dictator. Could the judge have imagined that if he accepted the valid arguments of counsel in defense of Steve Bannon, his home would be besieged with leftists carrying posters: "How dare you let Bannon call the speaker a "dictator?"
But these are parlous times, when politics, not legal principles, determine public controversies. Law professor Alan Dershowitz suspects that the verdict may be overturned for different reasons, but we shall see.
Notwithstanding laws that prohibit demonstrations in front of the homes of Supreme Court justices, the laws are ignored by Democrat authorities on the state, local, and federal levels -- and the obvious attempts to intimidate the members of the Supreme Court proceed apace.
Should we blame a federal judge for being concerned that he, too, could be the target of intimidating hordes, given license to make life as difficult as possible for his and his family -- if he rules on the basis of the law, not on the basis of mob rule -- with zero security from President Biden or his attorney general?
At the very least, when this November, G-d willing, the Republicans win majorities in House and Senate, the judiciary committees of these legislative bodies, must hold hearings on the politicization by the Democrats of the judicial process -- for the purpose of making certain that the constitutional travesty of the "January 6" show trials (for enhancing their "drama" according to the New York Times T.V. reporter) never again threatens to undermine our governmental institutions.
Image: Screen shot (detail) from Fox News video, via YouTube