Have you seen Woody Allen’s Bananas? It’s about a banana republic where the new “dear leader” declares the banana to be the national fruit, that underwear shall be worn on the outside instead of under clothes, and that he must be saluted with a gesture that defies description. It’s a dictatorship.
But not even Woody Allen could have imagined that America would one day have a President who declares that “if I had a son he would look like” a young man who unfortunately became embroiled in a fist fight and was subsequently killed. And even in a banana republic, the Attorney General would never bother to criticize a jury verdict and consider turning a state criminal court matter into a federal civil rights case.
For an administration that is so concerned about the rights of “undocumented” Hispanics in this country, it strikes me as bizarre that it has now virtually labeled George Zimmerman as “Public Enemy No. 1.”
The federal government has no right to interfere in state courts, no matter what anyone thinks about a verdict.
The jury system must be respected. It is the foundation of liberty in a civil society. Without a jury of your peers, you—not merely one man in Florida who happens to be of mixed ethnicity and possibly even mixed race—can be punished for exercising your rights under the Constitution of the United States and under the laws of the state in which you live.
(Jury verdicts are always right: even in the first O. J. Simpson trial. I will write another time about why the jury’s verdict in the Zimmerman case was not only right it was courageous, but for now I think we should all meditate on the meaning of what the federal government is proposing to do.)