Which justice system do we get?

Glenn Greenwald is one of the most important writers in America today, and if you don’t follow him regularly, you’re missing out. Although politically he’s often considered on the “Left,” the civil liberties issues he covers are, like the drug war, not so much “Right” vs. “Left” as they are right vs. wrong. He believes in liberty and justice for all and will take on anyone who perverts that standard, regardless of the letter following their name.

He had a post a few days ago discussing The two-tiered justice system – “the way in which political and financial elites now enjoy virtually full-scale legal immunity for even the most egregious lawbreaking, while ordinary Americans, especially the poor and racial and ethnic minorities, are subjected to exactly the opposite treatment: the world’s largest prison state and most merciless justice system.”

It’s quite compelling, and in a companion video, filmed by the ACLU of Massachusetts, he takes you down the path that has created this two-tiered system, from the pardon of Richard Nixon all the way to the telecom immunity, the lack of torture investigations, and the lack of prosecutions in the financial crisis…

And when you juxtipose that full scale immunity with the fact that America has the world’s largest and most oppressive penal state, where ordinary Americans are subjected to the harshest punishment for the pettiest and most trivial of crimes — that don’t really trigger imprisonment anywhere else — and the incredibly harsh conditions of those prisons, what we really have is exactly what the founders said was the most threatening to freedom, which is, not equal treatment under the law, but a completely distinct and separate justice system based on one’s status and power.

We cannot forget that the drug war is specifically tied to that two-tiered justice system. We cannot be a truly free nation if people who commit torture are given a free pass while those who grow cannabis are sent away for decades.

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