The Universal Right to Counsel and the Expansion of Tyranny by Non-Governmental Actors

The Universal Right to Counsel and the Expansion of Tyranny by Non-Governmental Actors
The Supreme Court is illuminated in Washington on Oct. 12, 2020. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Marc Ruskin

The assault on our democratic process for selecting elected officials isn’t limited to distorting results at the ballot box through skewed interpretations of the U.S. and various state constitutions, though these appear to have had a devastating effect on Nov. 3.

Equally nefarious, and perhaps more insidious, are the corollary steps being taken behind the scenes to influence the election outcome through threats and intimidation toward those working tirelessly in the legal arena to shed light on and bring to justice the abuses perpetrated in the days leading up to and following the vote.

The attorneys, paralegals, and volunteers working on behalf of the president and various Republican candidates have been the subject of well-funded harassment campaigns. And those brave enough to come forward as witnesses, sign sworn affidavits, and testify at hearings have been subject to all manner of insult and threats.

The right to effective counsel is entrenched in the Constitution and dates back to the rights developed well before the Constitution, to the Magna Carta, forming part of English Common Law.

The Lincoln Project—a misnomer if ever there was one—misleading the public by hiding behind the name of one of our greatest presidents, has been astonishingly active. They lurk behind a name that personifies liberty, while opposing liberty blatantly and openly. By launching assaults on the law firms of Jones Day and Porter Wright, they have, in fact, launched an assault on the very foundations of our legal system.

If the targets of the Lincoln Project’s ire are allowed to be intimidated and harassed based on the clientele they represent, then the entire concept of all being entitled to fair and impartial legal representation is undermined. And the hubris displayed by this open assault on the fundamental concept of impartial legal representation is chilling in its demonstration of a total disregard for even the appearance of impropriety.

It’s imperative that those individuals who constitute the Lincoln Project, and those who finance it, be pursued in justice and held to account for any malfeasance, for their acts constitute a form of extortion, pure and simple. Do as we say is their message, or you will suffer grievous consequences.

Just as civil rights attorneys were harassed in the mid-1960s when they came to the defense of the victims of racism, now attorneys are being harassed for defending the rights not just of political figures, but of the population that they represent.

The bullies are in essence no different from the bullies of the Klu Klux Klan, who intimidated, assaulted, and murdered attorneys and other civil rights workers in rural Mississippi. They must be held to account, lest the assault on liberty they have undertaken be institutionalized, as our fundamental rights dissipate as part of the ongoing broad-based assault on our Bill of Rights.

Make no mistake, there are powerful forces at work—at the Lincoln Project and elsewhere. Those with virtually unlimited financial resources have of late been emboldened, and when believing themselves at risk, appear willing to act without restraint. The examples abound. Albeit unrelated, they are indicative of a trend, of a shift in the landscape.

Jeffrey Epstein died on Aug. 10, 2019, while incarcerated at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York in what many suspect was an “assisted suicide.” The financier and alleged pedophile, having the goods on the most rich and most powerful, was thus effectively silenced.

Richard Hopkins, a U.S. Postal Service whistleblower, brought to the public’s attention by Project Veritas, was the subject of an interrogation by federal law enforcement agents and put on leave without pay—all for having the audacity to attest to alleged election fraud he had personally witnessed. (In contrast, federal employees formally accused of criminal activity are routinely put on administrative leave with pay, pending final judgment.)

Fox News’s Brett Baier, previously a vocal opponent to the Deep State, suddenly abandoned Trump.

Culminating the strange string of events and betrayals: the non-disclosure of the Biden family FBI investigations, and the non-prosecutions by Attorney General William Barr with regard to the much-heralded and so far non-concluded Durham inquiry.

Social media giants have been flexing their muscles, taking advantage of the complicit non-intervention by legacy media as well as many federal and state officials. In a time when overt rioting, looting, and the establishment of occupied zones is tolerated, what likelihood is there that abuse of authority by private overseers of information will be brought under control?

Crossing the line into truly flagrant behavior, on Oct. 14, Twitter blocked the account of a major newspaper, The New York Post, due to an article concerning Hunter Biden’s allegedly incriminating laptop. Moving to the next step in the road to a dystopic America, as reported on Dec. 9, by Chris Davies in Slash Gear, YouTube has announced “that videos uploaded to YouTube which allege voter machine fraud or software glitches took place, or that claim counting errors unfairly tipped the balance, will not be permitted and will be removed.”

Unencumbered by the constitutional limits established in the Bill of Rights—which limit government control of speech, not control by private, corporate actors—Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, et al. have assumed the Orwellian role of deciding what is objectively true and what is false, determining what the public will and will not be allowed to know.

Concentrated sources of political and financial power are at play, respecting no norms, believing in no limits to achieve their ends, or suppressing perceived threats. As with Argentine special prosecutor Alberto Nisman, found dead hours before he was due to testify against former President Cristina Fernandez—they act first and handle damage control later. And with no checks on the tech media’s expanding control of information, there are few left to investigate, few left to prosecute, and few left to report and expose, save for non-mainstream media—who are ridiculed and scorned by the legacy outlets.

Whether these trends are to be addressed or allowed to exacerbate will depend on the leadership (or absence thereof) that will be in place in the immediate future.

Based on procedural issues, the Supreme Court decided not to address the many substantive issues raised by Texas in the first significant post-election suit to be presented for review. However, the court can now consolidate post-election cases presented by the president and others with legal standing, and review the multitude of issues presented, rendering decisions that will be of truly historic consequence.

Marc Ruskin, a 27-year veteran of the FBI, is a regular Epoch Times contributor and author of “The Pretender: My Life Undercover for the FBI.” He served on the legislative staff of U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and as an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn, N.Y. Follow Marc on Twitter @mhruskin
Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Marc Ruskin, a 27-year veteran of the FBI, is a regular contributor and the author of “The Pretender: My Life Undercover for the FBI.” He served on the legislative staff of U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and as an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn, N.Y.
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