By Stephen P. Pizzo
Because my friends, we've been here before. And we know how it ends, if we let it proceed.
So why do the media and pundits shy away from comparing what is nearly a carbon copy : How Hitler defanged and quickly gutted the German judiciary as soon as taking power?
It's a discussion that needs to happen..and soon. Wiser folks than I have already studied how the most dangerous and destructive fascist power defanged it's own independent judiciary. And the comparisons between then, there, and here now, are jarring"to put it mildly.
In this piece I will be quoting heavily from a scholarly work on the Nazification of the German judiciary. "THEY SHOOT LAWYERS DON'T THEY?: LAW IN THE THIRD REICH AND THE GLOBAL THREAT TO THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY" by Matthew Lippman. You can find the full paper at: http://scholarlycommons.law.cwsl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1378&context=cwilj
Even before Trump was elected he was picking fights with judges..in particular the judge hearing the case of Trump University. Now he is again attacking the judiciary, as the courts rule against his Muslim-countries travel ban. So, we turn our eyes back to 1933 to look at how all this played out in Germany when another Trump-like autocrat took power:
No sooner had the Nazis taken power than it became clear to them that, along with a free media, a free judiciary posed the greatest threat to their continuing in power.
The Nazis vowed that they no longer would be constrained by the fetters of bourgeois law and rapidly moved to reconstitute the legal system. Goering brazenly boasted that the Nazis would "not be crippled by any judicial thinking."
The gauntlet was thrown down. Now began the dismantling:
Hitler's next step was to free himself from the limitations imposed by the constitution. On March 24, 1933, Hitler introduced, and the Reichstag passed, the Law for the Solution of the Emergency of People and Reich or the "enabling act " which constituted the major pillar of Nazi rule."
Article One abrogated the separation of powers and authorized the executive to promulgate decrees without parliamentary consultation.' Article Two permitted the government to "deviate" from the requirements of the constitution.' Article Four authorized the executive to enter into treaties without legislative approval.
As one legal observe remared at the time: The "street gangs had seized control of the resources of a great modern State, the gutter had come to power."
The Naztfication Of The Judiciary
The Nazis immediately launched a concerted campaign to limit the independence and impartiality of the judiciary. They quickly dismissed and demoted politically unreliable judges and officials of the Ministry of Justice.'
"The present crisis in the administration of justice today is close to " climax. A totally new conception of the administration of justice must be created, particularly a National Socialist judiciary, and for this the druggist's salve is not sufficient; only the knife of the surgeon, as will later be shown, can bring about the solution. The criterion . . . for the functions of justice and particularly of the judge in the National Socialist Reich must be a justice which meets the demands of national socialism.'
He who is striding gigantically toward a new world order cannot move in the limitation of an orderly administration ofjustice. To accomplish such a far-reaching revolution"is only possible if" all outmoded institutions, concepts, and habits have been done away with-if need be in a brutal manner" [aIll clamor about lawlessness, despotism, injustice, etc., is at present nothing but a lack of insight into the political situa tion." (Adolf Hiter)
Purge of "So-called Judges"
Hitler's executive orders began to fly:
The Nazi Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service of 7 April 1933 provided that officials, including judges, who were of non-Aryan descent were to be retired. Those officials, who because of their previous political activity, did not offer the security that they would act at all times and without reservation in the interests of the national state also were to be dismissed from the civil service.'
Only Quisling Judges Remained
The other judges remained silent and supine as their colleagues were terminated. The German Federation of Judges now proclaimed that its "main task" was: