2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: 433
We have all been aware of the New York trial court judge’s threat to impose a Gag Order on former President Donald Trump. But we should also be aware of the complicated issues surrounding this situation! From the beginning of my judicial career back in judges’ college in 1984 the instructors told us not to issue orders that we could not enforce. So what would happen if the judge issued that gag order and then believed that Mr. Trump had violated it? Would he put the leading candidate for the Republican nomination for President in jail – in the midst of the presidential campaign? Nonsense! Fine him? No big deal to Trump – in fact, he would probably receive more donations from his followers than he would pay in fines. And deciding whether or not Mr. Trump had actually violated whatever order had been issued would be no small task! For example, don’t belittle the staff of the Court? (You will recall that Mr. Trump had pointed to a picture of the court clerk when she was with Senator Schumer and called her Senator Schumer’s girl friend? Is that belittling? Hard definitions to enforce.) Of course, sometimes gag orders are issued to keep trial participants from prejudicing potential juries. In fact that is mostly the only justification for those orders to be issued. But how many times has a presidential candidate been the recipient of those orders? And don’t you agree that many people in our country would conclude that the judge was simply interfering with political elections and decisions? In other words, this would put the judiciary (and the country) into an impossible situation.
And there is even a more important issue. The First Amendment mandates that Congress shall make no law abridging free speech. Isn’t a gag order an abridgment? Of course, the judiciary is not Congress, but won’t almost everyone believe that the judiciary is doing just that? And how far can that go? Is the presidential candidate prohibited from discussing his own legal matters when they are on the minds of most voters? And what is “free speech” and what is not? What is enforceable and what is not? What is political and what is not? The ramifications would simply be endless if this gag order is issued. As most of you know, I am not a fan of Former President Donald Trump. In fact I believe that he is a bombastic and self-centered narcissist. (Other than that I have no opinion whatsoever . . .) Nevertheless, Mr. Trump is a political figure, and intruding upon his speech at this point in time will only cause further polarization in our country, and further harm to the judiciary. I deeply hope that it doesn’t happen!
Quote for the week: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to Justice everywhere.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Judge Jim Gray (Ret.) Superior Court of Orange County, California 2012 Libertarian Candidate for Vice President