American Due Process Paradigm Shift from Rule of Law to Fundamental Fairness
How COVID-19 Twisted Americans’ Sense of Humanity and Ultimately Redefined the Relationship between Law and "We The People"
The land of the free and home of the brave (Key, Francis Scott, “The Star-Spangled Banner”) is at a historical crossroad. Direct and incidental tragedies derived from the COVID-19 global pandemic have subjected Americans’ perception of normalcy to be indefinitely bent, distorted, and redefined out of relative necessity.
As American businesses have done their best to survive dire economic conditions by adapting to an unprecedented (un)employment market and supply chain challenges, so has America’s criminal justice system. Like all branches of American government, America’s judicial system mirrors the spirit of its founders and amends itself according to the modern society’s everchanging needs and beliefs. While weak extremist subgroups attempt to demonize law enforcement, undermine law and order, and minimize rule of law values, preserving the legitimacy and quality of American’s judicial branch amidst predictively programmed social dystopia has proved to be challenging.
Due Process from a Historical Perspective
The relationship between Due Process and the American criminal justice system has an odd history. Broadly speaking, Due Process’ history has had three (3) phases. The first phase lasted from the Declaration of Independence (1776) to the passage of the 14th Amendment (1868). The second phase of Due Process extends through the Civil Rights Movement in the1960’s, and the third phase runs to present.
Omnipotence of Criminal Justice
America’s criminal justice system has an overarching reach on every American’s life, every day. Every time Americans make a phone call, text, earns a dollar, spends a dollar, drives, browses on the internet or social media, etc. they’re operating in an enveloped microcosm of America’s criminal justice system – like a goldfish swimming around completely unaware of the fish tank.
As with all institutions, the test for America’s criminal justice system is time, but times are changing quickly. Combining COVID-19’s effects with advents such as smart technology, cryptocurrencies, virtual school and work, social media, electric vehicles, etc. the “American Way” is in flux. As a result, American laws, which have been and always will be the fabric of American society, are also at a historical crossroad.
Inherent Internal Conflicts Within American Checks & Balances System
As taught in K-12 Government or Civics class, there are three branches of government:
Legislative Branch: Creates law.
Examples: U.S. Congress and House of Representatives, State Politicians.
Executive Branch: Enforces law.
Examples: U.S. President, State Governors, Local Mayors, Police.
Judicial Branch: Reviews law.
Examples: Federal and State Court Judges, Prosecutors, Criminal Defense Attorneys.
The criminal justice system, part of America’s judicial branch, has exclusive power of reviewing laws. Like Anthony Bourdain taste testing a master chef, reviewing law is the final step of an interconnected and equally important methodical process of law making.
Acting as master chef, American legislators, the legislative branch, have the power to make laws. Legislators delete undesirable language and outcomes from proposed bills like a chef cutting fat off meat. After legislators reach an agreement and pass laws, the Executive Branch has exclusive power to enforce laws. (See U.S. Const. art. I, art. II, art. III.)
Constitutionally speaking, the executive branch is American government’s middle child. Due to ever changing social relations amongst Americans, the executive branch is placed in a catch-22. The executive branch’s interactions with Americans, “We The people” (See U.S. Const. Preamble) in enforcing our laws creates big drama for media channels, headlines for newspapers, and salient situations that end up being litigated in court, reviewed by the judicial branch’s criminal justice system.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, three realities have shifted the paradigm of America’s criminal justice system:
First, on May 25, 2020, when George Floyd’s neck was kneed on and ultimately killed by the Minneapolis Police Department. This dividing event caused unnecessary lines to be drawn between American communities and the law enforcement agencies that serve them.
Second, on July 20, 2020, when Richard Wershe Jr., aka “White Boy Rick”, was released from prison after 32 years and then filed a federal lawsuit demanding $100 million from the Detroit Police Department and FBI. White Boy Rick’s release from prison represents the criminal justice system’s moment of reckoning with its former, less fair, and out of touch self.
Third, when America leadership decided no country, institution, or anyone whatsoever would be held accountable or responsible for COVID-19 despite 1,044,027 American deaths due to COVID-19 as of the time this blog was published (WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard). As a result, us Patriots, “We The People”, have taken matters into our own hands by spending our time and money differently.
As ramifications of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 were litigated in Federal and State courts throughout the 1970’s, America’s Post-COVID-19 societal problems will be litigated throughout the remaining 2020’s and 2030’s.
"We The People" must keep a close eye on everything going on within our growing communities, school districts, land developments, Local Governments, State Governments, and Federal Government insofar as possible. Collect facts to determine whether injustices exist, engage in meaningful negotiations, self-purify, and then create direct patriotic action.
Our collective goodwill as “We The People”, is the most powerful force on God’s Green Earth. By doubling down on our fundamental American values, expanding our ability to empathize, and uniting with those who we previously saw as others, we will live in a smarter, stronger, and more loving society than before COVID-19.