Jack Goldsmith on the current ‘moral crisis’. Publius comments

Call this essay Mr. Goldsmith’s lack of courage to confront the mendacious and lawless history of the FBI! The very notion that Comey and Mueller represent the saviors of the Republic, in the current political melodrama, demonstrates that, contra Straussian hack Francis Fukuyama’s ‘The Decay of American Political institutions’ is rather about the collapse of the political legitimacy of these institutions. Mr. Goldsmith, in the throws of his Anti-Trumpism,  fails to grapple with anything remotely close to candor about the loss of that legitimacy. Even a mention of such weighty consideration is beyond the scope of Mr. Goldsmith’s apologia for the Comey/ Mueller political virtue, as opposed to the demonstrable reality of Trump’s political nihilism.

Where were these exemplars of republican virtue, as the FBI Crime Lab scandal developed from 1998 onward?



Add to this toxic politics, the fact of the rise of the Neo-Confederate/Originalist coterie on the Supreme Court, and its dependable fellow traveler Anthony Kennedy, and its Plantation Mentality. That re-made American Jurisprudence awash in a destructive radical political nostalgia for Pre-Civil War white male power!

Consider Mr. Goldsmith’s final paragraph:

But in performing this calculus, the leaders of the Justice Department should candidly consider the large costs of their silence. When they do not speak out against the president’s attacks on their institutions and the rule of law, they signal to their employees and the world that they are indefeasibly beholden to the president, or that they do not care. The failure to protect and defend the department engenders anger, suffering, and resentment by the men and women they are charged with leading the department. It also contributes to a sense of delegitimization within the department, and thus stokes the morale crisis. These are not consequences that any leader should ever tolerate.

How many masters can the ‘rule of law’ serve? The imperatives of The American National Security State in the FISA Court?  Its  National Security Letters , its secret indictments and trials.  Better to  attribute the FISA Court to the exercise of Sen.Church’s political conformity and cowardice.  While Mr. Goldsmith frets over the ‘a sense of delegitimization within the department, and thus stokes the morale crisis.’  The freely available record  of American Law has delegitimized itself, Trump is just another denouement of this ‘Moral crisis’ diagnosed by Mr. Goldsmith.







About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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