Blind Justice?

by W.D. Ehrhart

Are you kidding me? Are you freakin’ kidding me?!?!

I recently read this headline in today’s Washington Post: “Trump violated gag a 10th time, judge says, threatening jail.” The article goes on to say that “New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan made it clear to Trump that his 10th gag order violation—which he ruled on at the start of last Monday’s court session—was going to be the last that would result in only a fine.”

Trump’s latest fine for contempt of court was $9000. Oh, ouch, agony, the pain, the pain! Let’s see: Dolt .45 would need to sell 23 pairs of his golden high-top sneakers to pay off this fine. About a thousand pairs were sold within days of their debut. Why doesn’t the judge just give the Dolt forty lashes with a wet noodle? That’ll teach him a good lesson. Especially if the judge uses whole wheat noodles.

The Once-and-Future-President’s courtroom antics in this and his multiple other trials—openly taunting, belittling, threatening, and thumbing his nose at judges, prosecutors, and jurors, audibly cursing at witnesses—would have landed almost any other American behind bars for a long stretch of time after even one petulant outburst, let alone the serial repetition of such behaviors.

Some years ago, I sued a publisher for flagrantly selling poems of mine in violation of an existing court order and without notifying me or giving me a dime; indeed, he was entitled to nothing, but he kept it all. As I was reading a prepared statement from the witness stand, the publisher—who represented himself—kept interrupting with objection after objection.

But when I told the man to sit down and let me finish, the judge reprimanded me as if I’d farted at a Catholic First Communion and threatened to jail me for contempt. And it was perfectly clear that if I so much as raised an eyebrow in response to the judge’s lecture, I would be in handcuffs in a matter of seconds.

Yet Donald J. Trump can carry on as he pleases whenever he pleases, and the judicial system just keeps beseeching him to behave himself, and repeatedly overlooking the fact that he does not and will not. This latest judge claims that this 10th violation of the gag order is the last straw. We’ll see, but I’m not taking bets on it.

After all, Dolt .45 has a Supreme Court packed with his hand-picked “justices,” several of whom seem to be as corrupt and without scruples as he is, and several more of whom are on the bench only because Republicans in Congress for dubious reasons refused to allow Barack Obama to exercise his right to nominate candidates only to turn around and allow the Dolt to make appointments under circumstances even more extreme.

And now that court is seriously considering the argument that Trump is immune from prosecution for any action, no matter how flagrantly criminal, while he was the president? Golly, jeepers, and holy cow! What a surprise. I wonder how the Supreme Trump Court will rule on that one. And if it will rule in a timely enough fashion to allow the January 6th Insurrection trial to happen before this November’s presidential election.

Speaking of rulings in a timely fashion, since I began working on this essay, the judge presiding over Trump’s trial for taking and then hiding classified documents, a judge appointed by the Dolt himself, has now postponed that trial indefinitely.

The very next day, the Georgia Court of Appeals granted Trump a delay in his criminal trial for illegally trying to change the results of the 2020 election in that state, making it unlikely that trial will take place before this November’s election.

All of these delays matter because once Dolt .45 becomes Dolt .47—which seems ever more likely with Uncle Joe Biden increasingly alienating young voters with his slavish kowtowing to Benjamin Netanyahu (don’t kid yourselves, folks; Biden’s pleas to Bibi are about as effective as Judge Merchan’s have been with Trump), and his steady loss of support among Black and Latino voters—Trump will be in a position to pardon himself of any and all crimes he may have committed, whether he’s been convicted or not.

Can a president pardon himself? It’s never been done before. So who would decide that issue? Oh, yeh, the Supreme Court. I will take bets on that one.

Meanwhile, it’s anybody’s guess what will transpire between the time I’m typing this and the time it shows up in the Gazette.

Written in huge letters above the entrance to the United States Supreme Court building in Washington, District of Columbia, are these words:



African Americans have known how empty and hollow those words are for as long as they been in America. Over the history of this country, many other segments of our population have also had their faces rubbed in the fallacy of equal justice: Native Americans, Mexican Americans, Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans. Poor people of all ethnicities have seldom had a fair chance in our legal system.

But over the past couple of years, even comfortable white middle-class Americans who vote in elections and pay their taxes and cover their hearts when the national anthem is played ought to begin to realize that equal justice under the law does not apply to people who are filthy rich, and have managed to harness the most angry and resentful and bigoted segments of the American electorate, and commandeer an entire major political party through fear and intimidation.

So what do we do about any of this? I wish I had a good answer. I would and do urge you to get out and vote in November; our choices are sadly pathetic, but re-electing Biden is the only possible way we may actually stand even a slim chance of seeing Trump reap any judicial consequences for his lifetime of amoral and criminal behavior.

As for equal justice under the law, I just don’t know how to make that a reality. Even a cursory survey of American history, let alone world history, doesn’t offer much cause for hope. But as the poet Alexander Pope wrote almost three centuries ago, “Hope springs eternal.” So I’ll just keep hoping.


W. D. Ehrhart is a retired Master Teacher of History & English, and author of a Vietnam War memoir trilogy published by McFarland.

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