With the New Year, Biden Should Resolve to Cease the ‘Red Queen’ Justice

Below is my column in The Hill on one resolution that President Joe Biden could take this New Year’s Eve that could have a material and beneficial impact on our country.

Here is the column:

For most of us, New Year resolutions are the ultimate exercise of hope over experience, a type of virtue signaling to ourselves in the hope that this year it might actually work. For politicians, it is the same …  just without the hope. With the start of 2022 President Biden will lead the nation in celebrations and reflections. He could truly turn over a new leaf with one resolution: to stop declaring the guilt or innocence of people before they are actually investigated or tried.

History has shown that politicians are rarely late to a hanging or a stoning. From the Dreyfus Affair to Leo Frank, the Scottsboro Boys to the Duke Lacrosse team, there is nothing more binding with the public than to join in expressions of disgust or anger. The difference between a politician and a statesman is that the former demands a result while the latter demands a process from the justice system.

Even before winning the White House, Biden refused to wait for the actual facts before reaching a popular conclusion. For example, after the protests in Lafayette Park in 2020, Biden repeated the now debunked claim that the park was cleared with tear gas to enable a photo op for President Trump. From the outset, there was ample evidence undermining that claim, but neither Biden nor many in the media waited for the investigation to establish the facts. (Later, the Justice Department’s inspector general disproved the claim).

Once in office, President Biden continued that “sentence first, verdict afterwards” habit by making comments that conveyed what he wanted to see happen on legal decisions to be made from agencies. Despite being told that it would be clearly unconstitutional, Biden called for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to renew a nationwide moratorium on the eviction of renters.

Within days of the shootings in Kenosha, Wis., then-presidential candidate Joe Biden had strongly implied that Kyle Rittenhouse was a “white supremacist” despite no evidence supporting that claim. Even after many claims about Rittenhouse were debunked and the jury acquitted Rittenhouse of all charges, Biden stated publicly that the verdict left “many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included.”

However, Biden’s Red Queen justice approach was most alarming with regards to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents who were falsely accused of “whipping” undocumented immigrants on the southern border. Before any investigation was actually started, Biden expressed anger at the agents and publicly pledged punishment: “It was horrible what — to see, as you saw — to see people treated like they did: horses nearly running them over and people being strapped. It’s outrageous. I promise you, those people will pay.”

“Those people” are federal employees who have a right to due process and a presumption of innocence, including from the man who heads their branch of government. However, the President of the United States declared them to be guilty as the matter was sent for investigation. That creates an obvious pressure on lower-ranked executive branch officials to reach the same conclusion — to not contradict the President.

Indeed, while the administration promised a quick investigation, it went into complete radio silence. The agents are reportedly still on administrative duties, while there are reports that the CBP Office of Professional Responsibility has completed its investigation.

What was most striking about the border investigation is that there was extensive videotape evidence. While many in the press used still images that made it look like one agent was about to whip a migrant, the videotape clearly showed the agent using the “strap” — actually the reins — to guide his horse.

For that reason, many of us were confused by Biden’s insistence that these agents allegedly “strapped” the Haitian migrants. Even if the investigation finds culpability, the videotape does not show such abuse, and even the photographer expressed surprise at the “whipping” claim.

Nevertheless, other Democratic politicians like Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) denounced the whipping, claiming it was “worse than what we witnessed in slavery” and said that the videotape showed “the cowboys who were running down Haitians and using their reins to whip them.” Again, the videotape clearly refuted that claim. Yet that did not stop politicians like Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) from proclaiming the incident as evidence of “white supremacist behavior.” The media dutifully followed suit in reporting that the evidence showed  agents “whipping Haitian asylum seekers.”

Much of the coverage was reminiscent of the false reporting of the incident involving former Covington Catholic High School student Nicholas Sandmann and his encounter with a Native American activist in front of the Lincoln Memorial on Jan. 18, 2019; Sandmann later settled with the Washington Post, NBC, and CNN in defamation actions. There was widely available video of the incident showing that Sandmann did nothing wrong. He just stood there as the activist confronted him.

A president plays a critical role in reinforcing our system of justice. He not only represents our constitutional process of representative democracy, but he is given specific power to correct injustices through pardons and commutations. When passions turn to rage, a president can bring a needed voice for fairness and patience in allowing our system to function without prejudice or prejudgment. Conversely, if the president rushes to judgment, he becomes an enabler of mob justice.

Biden could skip the usual weight loss and work-out pledges this year in favor of something more tangible and meaningful. He could pledge to respect the legal process and withhold judgment on those accused. It may not make it easier to fit in those jeans, but he would fit better in the office that he currently holds.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can find his updates on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

55 thoughts on “With the New Year, Biden Should Resolve to Cease the ‘Red Queen’ Justice”

  1. Turley, Fox’s influence on you is starting to show: the claim about the tear-gassing in front of St. John’s church has NOT been refuted. You’ve been corrected about this before, but you keep on repeating it, just like Fox does with various lies it puts out regularly. And, once again, you find a reason to go after Maxine Waters while ignoring the antics of Marjorie Taylor Greene. Plus, you try once again to relitigate the Kyle Rittenhouse matter. You are just another Fox pundit at this point.

    1. You really need to get your Haldol prescription refilled stat. Don’t go off your antipsychotic meds…ever

      Yet Another Media Tale — Trump Tear-Gassed Protesters For a Church Photo Op — Collapses

      That the White House violently cleared Lafayette Park at Trump’s behest was treated as unquestioned truth by most corporate media. Today it was revealed as a falsehood.

      The independent Inspector General of the Interior Department, Mark Lee Greenblatt, issued his office’s findings after a long investigation into “the actions of the U.S. Park Police (USPP) to disperse protesters in and around Lafayette Park in Washington, DC, on June 1, 2020.” Greenblatt has been around Washington for a long time, occupying numerous key positions in the Obama administration, including investigative counsel at the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General and Assistant Inspector General for Investigations at Obama’s Commerce Department.

      The letter released by Greenblatt’s office accompanying the report makes clear how far-reaching the investigation was:

      Over the course of this review, our career investigative staff conducted extensive witness interviews, reviewed video footage from numerous vantage points, listened to radio transmissions from multiple law enforcement entities, and examined evidence including emails, text messages, telephone records, procurement documents, and other related materials. This report presents a thorough, independent examination of that evidence to assess the USPP’s decision making and operations, including a detailed timeline of relevant actions and an analysis of whether the USPP’s actions complied with governing policies.

      The IG’s conclusion could not be clearer: the media narrative was false from start to finish. Namely, he said, “the evidence did not support a finding that the [U.S. Park Police] cleared the park on June 1, 2020, so that then President Trump could enter the park.” Instead — exactly as Hemingway’s widely-mocked-by-liberal-outlets article reported — “the evidence we reviewed showed that the USPP cleared the park to allow a contractor to safely install anti-scale fencing in response to destruction of Federal property and injury to officers that occurred on May 30 and May 31.” Crucially, “the evidence established that relevant USPP officials had made those decisions and had begun implementing the operational plan several hours before they knew of a potential Presidential visit to the park, which occurred later that day.”


      1. We went over and over this right afterwards when Billy Barr tried to deny that the Episcopalian clergy and seminarians (who were there to pass out water and snacks to protesters) were tear-gassed to make way for Trump to try his “macho man” walk from the White House bunker after being ridiculed for hiding in the White House bunker like the coward he is. The tear-gassing you are referring to was done a block away, and by the DC Police. Either the Secret Service (that had 35 members hiding in trees and bushes to protect the fat coward) or some other federal agency used the tear gas to clear the way for the fat slob to pose with the Bible as a campaign prop. Turley and pro-Trumpers have tried to conflate these two matters, but as for the “macho man” walk to hold the Bible, that was engineered as a Trump PR stunt, complete with people like Gen. Milley in tow, who has since apologized profusely for allowing himself to be used as a campaign prop.

    2. Are you defending maxine waters? lol. This is what a biden administration creates, inspires…excuses and deceit.

      maxine waters is a corrupt racist clown, no matter what you have been spoon fed to believe.

      your other point was already destroyed by Estovir.

      Look, we know what cnn tells you to think, no need to repeat their BS here, it just reinforces sane peoples’ negative opinion of cnn and those that would believe it.

  2. Biden was elected to the Senate from Delaware to represent the East-Coast corporate interests. In short, a bagman. Period. Full stop.

    Not surprisingly, Joe has never passed up a chance to throw somebody under the bus if it served his interests. Everybody from black felons to black Supreme Court justices have felt the sting of Joe’s savage opportunism.

    It’s passing strange that this influence-peddling con artist got to sit in judgement of Richard Nixon. It’s stranger still that he actually sits in the Oval Office, overrunning America with gate jumpers so he can cancel out our votes. I guess it’s our turn to go under Joe’s bus.

    Let’s hope 2022 brings karma to Joe’s fortunes.

    1. I like to add one more thing. Biden wasn’t smart, so he never threatened those that fed him. They were happy with Biden’s low level of intellect, along with only a moderate skill involving Bribery. They hit the trifecta, low intellect, non-threatening due to the former and low cost.

      1. If you want to see Biden trying to appear intelligent, look at his questioning of Thomas Sowell during the Bork confirmation hearing and Clarence Thomas during his confirmation hearing. Both clips can be found on YouTube. Much later Clarence Thomas said he had no idea what Biden was going on about.

  3. Another great column. But don’t hold your breath on Biden. He can barely stop himself from soiling his pants. Angry old demented guy. Seen it before.

  4. Let’s put the question in a nutshell. Are the people who exploit these occurrences for political and financial gain good people and are they worthy of your vote?

  5. Presidential statements are much more of a problem so I think JT should have only focused on those in the article. If JT had done that, he may have included Biden comments related to prosecutions for refusing subpoenas (see JT’s 10/17 blog) and perhaps other situations (if any).

    1. Presidential statements are much more of a problem so I think JT should have only focused on those in the article

      Sounds reasonable. Tell to a Judge. The judiciary considered statements made by Candidate Trump to arrive at a binding judicial ruling.

      While that is lousy Judging, those are the rules of the game now.

  6. Isn’t it amazing among today’s leftists that no matter how liberal and “progressive” one is, if you deviate in the least from the “woke” agenda they regard you as a “nazi”.

    Here is a discussion among Jacobin panelists regarding such a phenomena. BTW – Jacobin is a traditional Marxist group whose problem is with capitalism, not white people and their culture. Not a Marxist but they make some excellent observations.


    Don’t you love to see our morally superior and highly intelligent leftists fight among each other? The revolution does indeed eat its own.


    1. What this country needs is a 5cent cigar, wide highways, cheap beer, more mothers, and another four years of Trump magic

  7. The difference between a politician and a statesman is that the former demands a result while the latter demands a process from the justice system.

    January will mark Biden’s 49th year as a politician. He’s not going to suddenly become a statesman in year 50.

    1. Though so many on the left are so authoritarian, those on the right, you are talking to, are not, and do not believe in kings or dictators. They believe in good policy and try to place leadership in the hands of those that can promote such good policy.

  8. It’s not just Biden, it’s the entire Democratic party. Accusations of “racist” and “white supremacist” flow from their mouths without the slightest bit of shame or self-consciousness. There’s hardly an issue in this world they don’t attribute to “systemic racism.” This is the narrative adopted by the DNC, and the lazy, robotic, deceitful Squad and their followers just wallow in the gaslighting.

  9. I am afraid we cannot expect much better from Old Joe. He was not much brighter back in those bygone days when he had the semblance of a brain. Many of us eventually get soft in the head, Joe has already arrived there. Dunno what excuses, if any, the other people cited have.

  10. “It may not make it easier to fit in those jeans, but he would fit better in the office that he currently holds.”
    Biden fits the office like a watermelon fits a banana skin.

  11. It has been extremely disconcerting to hear and watch President Biden’s commentaries on these situations. I wonder whether any of the President’s advisors have spoken with him about the advisability of withholding public commentary on these matters. Not so long ago we also watched Senator Chuck Schumer on the steps of the Supreme Court Building gesturing and shouting threats directed to certain Supreme Court justices. Where is his respect for legal processes at the highest level. We have too many members of the political class acting outrageously. It begins to look like these commentaries and outbursts are becoming part of the desired political narrative.

  12. Ignoring Biden’s apparent descent into senility, Biden has always been an opportunistic liar.

    Watch the Lefties start with their “What about Trump…?” cacophony.

    Guys, this article is about Biden.

    Focus on the topic.

    Whataboutism is the sign of a feeble intellect (to say nothing of poor morals).

    1. Every president is an opportunistic liar. Some more than others. That’s not uncommon. Reagan was already in the early stages of Alzheimer’s during his last year.

      1. Anonymous, “Reagan was already in the early stages of Alzheimer’s during his LAST year”, emphasis on LAST mine. Biden is in his FIRST year and it is not “early stages” is it?

    2. “ Whataboutism is the sign of a feeble intellect (to say nothing of poor morals).”

      So, when righties used whataboutism regarding president Obama where they exhibiting signs of feeble intellect?

    1. You must have knowledge that escaped those who deeply researched the subject matter and found him innocent while naming another as the likely killer. Let us hear that profound knowledge you imply you have.

Leave a Reply