'Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.’
By Elizabeth Dallam Ayoub | November 19, 2023
Soon after the original 13 colonies adopted the U.S. Constitution in 1789 and united into one nation, differences began to take root. Two areas of variation among the states involved punishment and religion. Under the Constitution of the United States of America, each state could render punishment differently and require homage (payment) to one particular religion or another. In 1791, to prevent these differences from widening into a future rift, the states ratified (approved) 10 Amendments to the Constitution. These are called the Bill of Rights. (See Constitution 101: The Meaning and History of the Constitution | Hillsdale College Online Courses.)
The Bill of Rights protects us (We the People) from government overreach to or against us. The Founders designed the protections to ensure the government is big enough to protect and defend us from foreign and domestic enemies, but not so big as to overpower its citizens and trod on their freedom.
The Fifth Amendment protects us from being “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”
During the ensuing 232 years, the United States Supreme Court and other Federal courts have defined “due process of law.” Plus, the courts created what might be called a checklist of what the government must do to ensure that it is not overstepping its boundaries.
When we weave many of the Constitutional Amendments together, we learn several fundamental principles. For example, the Sixth Amendment provides that those who are charged with a crime must be given a speedy and public trial. The Fourth Amendment, protects the "right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures," so personal property cannot be searched without a warrant. Due process involves, among other things, more than the government stating that something is a fact in order to make it a fact. A person is entitled to a trial before an impartial jury (or judge). Plus, every person has the right to receive the same, equal treatment under the law.
Justice is supposed to be blind. It is forbidden to to discriminate for or against a person based on their race, color, or creed (religion), and later based on their gender, age, or financial status.
This article examines what appear to be inconsistent applications of the law in this greatest country on earth, the United States of America, the constitutional republic that affords to its citizens the Bill of Rights.
Due Process: Equal Treatment?
Inauguration Day 2017: Donald Trump, a New York businessman, was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States. Meanwhile, “anarchists armed with crowbars and hammers marched through the city’s streets, toppling over news boxes, smashing bus-stop glass, vandalizing businesses, spray-painting buildings and, in one case, bashing in the windows of a black limousine.” Inauguration Day 2017: Pomp and chaos collide as Trump becomes president - The Washington Post. Watch: Protests erupt in Washington D.C. on Electon Day
NBC News reported, “Six police officers suffered minor injuries when protesters flung bricks, trash cans and other objects, and ignited small fires.” More than 200 people – some of them self-described ‘anarchists’ dressed in black and wearing masks – were arrested and charged with rioting.
Extensive media reports covered the violence that day, but no mention was made of an insurrection. No one called it the January Inaugural Anarchist Violence.
Instead, a "grassroots" effort offered free lodging for the defendants, legal coordination, and other support. After the government’s prosecution became exorbitantly costly to taxpayers, the government dropped its charges against all inauguration protesters.
"The solidarity we showed as defendants won out,” said Dylan Petrohilos, a Washington-based activist who was one of the defendants whose charges were dropped earlier.
Was there restitution or justice for any victims of that day? What happened to the individuals and businesses that lost personal property?
Solidarity, not justice, appears to have prevailed. The defendants' supporters (or perhaps sponsors) were willing to expend enormous resources on this endeavor. Meanwhile, the government formed no committee to investigate. It is reported to have issued no subpoenas. The government dropped the charges.
Then there came Portland
During the summer of 2020, a “violent mob” laid siege to the city of Portland, Ore., for 47 days. The rioters went so far as to set up what they called the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), later changed to CHOP (Capital Hill Occupied Protest).
Acting Secretary of DHS Chad Wolf visited Portland at the time of the occupation and stated, “Each night, lawless anarchists destroy and desecrate property, including the federal courthouse, and attack the brave law enforcement officers protecting it,”
On July 21 the "violent anarchists attacked the [federal] building and the officers inside by throwing heavy objects and launching fireworks at the building," the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reports in its archives.
Despite CHAZ/CHOP claiming independence from the U.S., despite attacking a federal building, despite "at least 25 Americans killed during the protests" and so-called "political unrest," no mention was made of an insurrection.
Fast forward four years. A new administration takes office.
On January 7, 2021, one day after the January 6 riots at the Capitol in Washington D.C., the New York Times and other publications called the violence an “insurrection” and an attempted “coup.” The media reported four or five “deaths” when, in truth, only one death occurred of unnatural causes. Unarmed protester Ashli Babbit, a 35-year-old military veteran, was shot while entering the Capitol through a broken window. The name of Babbit's shooter, Lt. Michael Byrd, was withheld for months, and he was never charged. (See MFE's The Making of a Deplorable Election Denier Conspiracy Theorist.)
The Biden administration subpoenaed more than 100 people and companies including Reddit, Meta (formerly Facebook), and Twitter (now X) to prosecute those involved in the Jan. 6. violence. In addition, Congress formed a committee to investigate. After two years and 10 months of investigation, “the largest in Justice Department history,” and an 845-page report, some January 6 defendants have yet to be tried.
Due Process – A campaign promise to target one citizen before accumulating evidence
The attorney general of New York is empowered to “combat crime, ensure public safety, defend civil rights, fight for workers, safeguard [the] environment and more.”
In what sounds more like a vendetta than a campaign promise, the current attorney general of New York, Letitia James, campaigned on her pledge to shine a “bright light into every dark corner of his [former president Donald Trump's] real estate dealings.”
One has to wonder what public safety is being protected by this lawsuit? What evil is being purged? Citizens have a right to ask, How is it that someone who was not yet the attorney general believed there was a crime when no witnesses came forward to complain about wrongdoing and when no search warrants were issued to pursue what might form the basis for an arrest?
Senator Rick Scott of Florida said, “This isn’t the pursuit of justice.” He said the New York AG, “declared this before she had any evidence of actual wrongdoing,” and “the longer this abuse is tolerated by the media and the public, the greater risk we have of irreparable harm to our democracy.”
At its core, Senator Scott is suggesting that James, without any evidence of a crime, campaigned to “get” Donald Trump, an individual United States citizen.
What is New York attempting to do by prosecuting Mr. Trump? Rudy Giuliani wrote on X, formerly Twitter, “They’re trying to take away all of Donald Trump’s property. Even when we commit a crime, they don’t take away all our property. That’s what they do in China. That’s what they did in the Soviet Union. In Nazi Germany.” Citizen Free Press on X
In those countries, there is no Bill of Rights, no due process of law. Those totalitarian countries are led by autocrats who merely confiscate property.
Due Process – Equal treatment under the law?
When the Internal Revenue Service testified that it hired 87,000 new IRS agents to audit only those people making $400,000 a year or more, this directive is linked directly to only 1% of the population because 99% of the population make less than $400,000 per year. What percentage of US families are making above $400,000 per year? - Quora
Does this directive sound similar to that of Letitia James in which the IRS is seeking to target certain individuals or groups of individuals without evidence of wrongdoing? Nowhere in the testimony of Daniel Werfel, commissioner of the IRS, did he speak of evidence of fraud from those earning $400,000 or more.
Clay Travis, a conservative talk-radio host in Michigan, spoke on his program of never having been audited until he accepted a job with iHeart radio. He’s being audited now. Rush Limbaugh was audited every year he lived in New York, Travis said, and called their treatment “pure political harassment.”
Due Process – using a Search Warrant after charges brought?
After Michigan’s “16 false electors” were charged by Dana Nessel, Michigan’s attorney general, her office secured a search warrant to examine their defense fundraising activities. Michigan-AGs-Office-got-search-warrant-to-examine-false-electors-defense-fundraising (ground.news)
A criminal defense attorney with 14 years' experience in Michigan said, “I’ve never had the government demand to know who was paying my bill. One could fairly look at this from the outside and wonder if it’s just trying to harass the folks who are defending the false electors.” Michigan-AGs-Office-got-search-warrant-to-examine-false-electors-defense-fundraising (ground.news)
Due Process and equal protections
In contrast, the United States House Committee on Oversight and Accountability heard testimony from two IRS whistleblowers and obtained financial records from the Biden family. These records confirmed that while now-President Joe Biden was vice president, his family set up over 20 shell companies and received over $10 million from foreign nationals and related companies.
The Oversight Committee and the whistleblowers confirmed that Hunter Biden received millions from foreign countries. Evidence suggests that President Biden knew of this and was involved. Hearing Wrap Up: IRS Whistleblowers Expose How Bidens Were Treated Differently - United States House Committee on Oversight and Accountability
What will happen in this case?
Justice is blind
The equal protections given to all of us under the Bill of Rights are supposed to be exactly that, equal protections. Lady Justice wears a blindfold to symbolize the fair and unbiased administration of the law.
Senator Rick Scott said imbalances and abuses will continue as long as the media and the public allow them to continue. Given the rapid pace of change, threats foreign and domestic, and the inexorable advance of artificial intelligence, it is hardly an exaggeration to suggest the preservation of the human species depends on people defending their beliefs and unalienable rights as protected in their Bill of Rights, whether through the ballot box, communication with legislators, or the judicial system.
A year after the end of World War II and Hitler's suicide, Nazi Germany leaders stood trial in Nuremberg for crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Against this backdrop in 1946, the German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller wrote:
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
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Elizabeth Dallam Ayoub serves as MFE’s director of communications. She started her career working for an international company, transitioned into teaching French and Latin while her children were young, and then became a Michigan attorney.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Michigan Fair Elections. Artificial intelligence may have been used in the creation of this message or in the links referenced herein.