There has been an uproar after the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision to throw out the conviction of former Governor Bob McDonnell. Most have complained that the decision makes it ‘harder’ for prosecutors to go after corrupt politicians. One author, in an article for the The New Yorker, even stated that the justices gave a “blessing” to bribery. Others went so far as to say that the Supreme Court decision will somehow allow politicians to run amok accepting bribes and make American democracy less transparent and more corrupt. I believe those fears are quite overstated. The truth is the decision does makes it ‘harder’ for prosecutors, but I think, under these circumstances, that’s a good thing.
Don’t get me wrong, I hate corruption more than anybody. I am naturally inclined to think every politicians is inherently corrupt (unfortunately my theory has proven true time and time again). And, I agree that the actions of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell are, as Justice Roberts put it, very “tawdry.”
But what might be just as bad, and maybe even worse, is when prosecutors have the unlimited authority to decide what counts as a crime, spend countless resources to make their case, and then go virtually unchecked in their power to broadly interpret laws so as to obtain a conviction……
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