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Senator Ricketts’ Weekly Column: The Fight to Protect America’s System of Justice

Pete Ricketts Weekly Column

Our country was founded on the principle that everyone should receive equal justice under the law. It’s part of who we are. It’s why ‘equal justice under law’ is engraved above the entrance to the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. It’s also why “Equality before the law” is Nebraska’s state motto. This founding idea makes America special. It allows Americans to trust that our justice system is working as intended. Regardless of income, status, race, or political affiliation, we’re supposed to all be treated the same. Shamefully, some have turned their backs on this core American principle, but I believe we each have a role to play in protecting it.

The weaponization of our justice system for political gain is one of the current threats we need to face. The recent trial against Donald Trump in New York is one such example. The case was brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who campaigned on his record suing Trump’s businesses. Bragg concocted a novel theory to charge Trump with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, even though the crime is actually a misdemeanor in New York. From the gag orders to his jury instructions, the presiding judge played a major role in the direction of the case. The judge had donated money to President Biden’s campaign. This contribution clearly violated a rule banning New York judges from making any political contributions. Alternatively, we’ve seen much less complex cases against President Biden’s family members move slowly or not at all. This inequality sets a dangerous precedent. Prosecuting the political opposition while protecting allies is a tactic found in authoritarian regimes like Putin’s Russia, not America.

The Trump and Biden cases are not the only examples of the politicization of our justice system. We saw it when the Department of Justice issued a memo implying concerned parents going to school board meetings was “domestic terrorism.” We’ve seen it with the vigorous prosecution of pro-life Americans while failing to give the same attention to the attacks on pro-life women’s resource centers. We’ve also seen it with progressive prosecutors and sanctuary cities that refuse to enforce laws against crimes like theft, drugs, or illegal immigration. This kind of judicial activism undermines the trust that holds our justice system together.

This selective application of justice is not a coincidence. It stems from a blatant disregard for the rule of law by liberal activists who refuse to accept limits on their power. As President Biden said recently: “The Supreme Court blocked me, but it didn’t stop me.” Time and again, the Supreme Court has struck down a Biden regulation, only for the Biden administration try to force it on the American people anyway. We’ve seen it with the Waters of the United States rule, the ban on coal plants, and the student loan bailout. The Supreme Court has already declared these regulations illegal. Biden’s bureaucrats continue to push them forward anyway. It’s one thing to disagree with a decision of the Court. To openly defy it is an attack on the rule of law.

I believe equal justice under the law makes America special. We must fight to protect it. To do that, we must support and elevate officials who uphold equal justice under law. In Nebraska, we have many who faithfully execute that duty. People like District Attorneys Don Kleine and Pat Condon and Sheriffs Aaron Hanson and Terry Wagner work tirelessly to apply our laws fairly. When I was Governor, I made sure the Nebraska Supreme Court Justices and lower court judges I appointed had that mindset. President Trump also made that a priority with federal Justices and judges appointed during his term. To save America’s system of justice, we must support officials who prioritize equal justice and reject those pushing for “lawfare” or judicial activism. I will keep fighting to do just that.