It gets clearer every day of the Biden administration that, for Democrats, the law is what they say it is.
Thanks to the misguided intervention of the commissioner of Major League Baseball, much of the country has found itself concerned with the state of Georgia’s new election law and whether it really impedes the rights of voters.
But one Peach State prosecutor doesn’t seem so concerned, since he doesn’t plan to enforce parts he doesn’t like.
Gwinnett County Solicitor Brian Whiteside, a Democrat, said he doesn’t intend to prosecute people who distribute food or water to people in line to vote, in defiance of a recently passed law.
“The state law is not constitutional, what they did,” he said. https://t.co/7M9fF9KnCR
— AJC (@ajc) April 6, 2021
Brian Whiteside, the Democratic solicitor general of Gwinnett County, Georgia, essentially told MSNBC’s Ari Melber on Tuesday that one provision of the law which has gotten the most attention — banning political activists from handing out food and drink to voters waiting line — did not meet his personal standards.
“When you commit to a criminal law, there has to be a basis that there will be harm to a party or to property,” Whiteside told Melber, according to an MSNBC transcript.
“There is no harm in someone being humane. There is no actual criminal nexus here to be humane.”
Most people would assume that the “basis” for a prosecutor to “commit to a law” would be whether the measure was passed by the state’s legislature and signed by the state’s governor. Georgia’s “Election Integrity Act of 2021” meets both those criteria.
Among many provisions in its 98 pages, the law states that “No person shall solicit votes in any manner or by any means or method, nor shall any person distribute or display any campaign material, nor shall any person give, offer to give, or participate in the giving of any money or gifts, including, but not limited to, food and drink …”
That’s pretty clear cut. As is the law’s provision that violations would be considered misdemeanors.
But for the Gwinnett County solicitor general, whose office is in charge of prosecuting misdemeanors, it’s apparently not clear enough.
Melber then asked Whiteside what he would say to the “critique that that may sound no different than someone who opposes marriage equality and says they’re not going to issue those marriage licenses and these other controversies we have had?”
“In other words, does this just come down to your opinion, above what the law states?”
In short, the answer was “yes.”
“Well, I think, when you look at the rational basis of the law, there is no rational basis. It basically says that they`re going to arrest someone for merely having water or giving water out,” Whiteside said.
“I take an oath to seek justice. It would be unjust for a police officer to arrest someone for merely giving someone some type of nutrition or hydration.”
Check out the interview here:
But what Whiteside and other critics of the law — like President Joe Biden — fail to mention is that it specifically allows for poll officials to make “available self-service water from an unattended receptacle to an elector waiting in line to vote.”
The law also does not prohibit voters from bringing their own water, in the event voting lines are so long they might be in danger of dying of thirst before managing to cast their ballot.
The water issue is a straw man issue, easily caricatured to make Republicans look foolish, and portray Democratic voters — especially African-American Democrats — as seemingly helpless victims of a GOP machine, unable to find water to keep themselves alive without assistance, much less procure the kind of photo identification that’s a routine part of modern living.
Naturally, Whiteside had plenty of supporters in the liberal universe of social media, but some saw the problems with his leftist logic.
When someone tells their boss they aren’t going to do their job because they don’t believe the job is right, how does that typically end up for the employee? #goodluck
— Andrew Nicks (@Fandanglios24) April 6, 2021
So if people in Gwinnett are arrested for something and state they don’t agree with the law, can they be set free?
— Paul Hickman (@mike3803mike) April 6, 2021
What this really boils down to is an officer of the court — a solicitor general in this case — making a public statement that he is going to defy the laws of his state in order to pursue a political agenda.
This is nothing new for Democrats, and it isn’t particular to Georgia. Current California Gov. Gavin Newsom got a big boost to his political profile performing gay weddings as mayor of San Francisco when they were still illegal under California law.
In fact, a 2018 San Jose Mercury-News profile celebrated Newsom’s courage under the headline: “How a battle over same-sex marriage 14 years ago sparked Gavin Newsom’s political rise.” So, don’t be surprised if Whiteside’s name starts popping up in the years ahead.
But this is about more than politics. Whiteside’s spectacularly selective enforcement of the law — and his evident desire to make it as widely known as possible — is beyond troubling.
Liberals might celebrate his stance now, but would they take the same view of a county district attorney announcing he would not prosecute pro-life demonstrators who violated buffer zones outside abortion clinics?
However reflexively stupid MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s decision to move this year’s All-Star Game out of Atlanta to protest the Georgia law, no one can dispute his right to make it on behalf of the private organization.
What Whiteside is talking about, however, is of a different magnitude — an officer of the court refusing to follow a law because of his personal feeling that it did not satisfy his brand of “justice” (the kind that gets Democrats elected).
He is already being cheered by liberals, because for too many Democrats, the law is what they say it is. It’s how the country has a president and administration willfully flouting enforcement of the immigration laws that make the United States a sovereign country.
But the end result of that thinking is no law at all. Then what will they say?
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