by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
When Democrats want to threaten or delegitimize the federal judiciary, they know whom to call first: Sheldon Whitehouse, the Rhode Island senator The Hill calls “the Democratic Party’s leading voice on the courts.” That voice is one of paranoia, conspiracy theories, threats, lies, smears, and hypocrisy.
Senator Whitehouse’s escalating campaign against an independent judiciary reached its highest fever pitch last August, when he and four other Democratic senators filed an unprecedented amicus brief with the Supreme Court bluntly threatening to “restructure” the Court if it did not stop issuing conservative decisions, including enforcing the Second Amendment to the Constitution:
“The Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it. Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be “restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.” Particularly on the urgent issue of gun control, a nation desperately needs it to heal.”
This was an open threat of Court-packing tied directly to the outcomes of particular cases. …
… Typically of people who traffic in this sort of paranoia, Whitehouse gets even uglier after a decision does not go his way. The legal saga of Michael Flynn has faced its own torturous history, with a panel of the D.C. Circuit ordering the dismissal of the case, followed by the en banc Circuit recently deciding to rehear that dismissal. There are serious reasons why the Justice Department was right to abandon the Flynn prosecution, and difficult questions about when courts can and should demand the continued enforcement of a guilty plea when the prosecution itself wants to drop it. But for Whitehouse, channeling Donald Trump’s “so-called judge” rhetoric, the only possible explanation for an adverse ruling is a dark conspiracy. …