"The legal system worked for them both
O.J. Simpson is in the news again after an absence of 10 years. Charged with armed robbery last week, Simpson faces life in prison if convicted.
There are many people who still can’t get over the fact that a jury found him not guilty of the 1994 murder of his ex-wife and her friend. Despite the fact that a 12-member jury unanimously found him innocent, polls show that 80 percent of Americans believe he’s guilty.
We may never know the truth about what happened that night. While considerable evidence points to Simpson as the killer, too much of that evidence was altered, tampered with or simply planted by police to ever be 100 percent certain of his guilt.
It is indisputable, though, that our system found him innocent of the charges. That means that he can never be charged with those murders again. A large percentage of Americans simply can’t accept that fact and want him to be punished for something or anything that police can muster.
The bloodlust was evident last week as commentators virtually gloated after Simpson’s arrest on robbery charges. Even if he didn’t do this crime, they seemed to be arguing, he should still be jailed forever.
Although I don’t care one way or another about the Simpson case, I too hold a similar grudge against the legal system. Five years after Simpson was acquitted, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that George W. Bush should become president, no matter what the actual results of the Florida vote.
Even if a recount showed that Al Gore won Florida, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote that counting such votes “does in my view threaten irreparable harm to petitioner Bush, and to the country, by casting a cloud upon what he claims to be the legitimacy of his election.”
In other words, Bush beat the system just like O.J. Simpson did. Instead of Johnnie Cochran, Bush had Scalia and William Rehnquist on his side, fixing things.
Our justice system has never quite recovered from the 2000 election since millions of people still point to the corrupt deal giving Bush the presidency as a turning point for our nation.
Emboldened by his success at vote-fixing, Mr. Bush went on to break the law by establishing torture camps and lying to Congress, the United Nations and the American people about the need for the war in Iraq.
It’s just like O.J. He beat the system so he probably thought he could get away with armed robbery.
But we shouldn’t speculate about their motivations. All that matters are the main cases. O.J. Simpson was told by a jury that he didn’t commit murder. Bush was told by the Supreme Court that he didn’t engage in vote fraud.
People like to say, after a difficult legal case, that “the system worked.” Sure it did. The jury let O.J. walk and the justices gave Bush the presidency. It worked for those two guys.
If you’re a family member of one of the Simpson murder victims, or if you’re one of the 50 million people who voted for Gore in 2000, the system worked for you as well. It worked to give you the middle finger.
That is how our legal system operates. If a jury decides you didn’t kill the people you’re accused of butchering, then you get to play golf in Florida and party in Vegas. If a stacked Supreme Court tells you that, no matter what a vote count says, you get to be president, then you get to declare war wherever you choose and lie to the public about anything and everything.
You may end up with a public perception problem, though. In Simpson’s case, eight out of 10 people think he’s a murderer. In Bush’s case, seven of 10 say he’s a bad president. But the public’s opinion doesn’t count in these situations.
If you accept the fact that Bush was legally elected president in 2000, then you should accept the fact that O.J. Simpson didn’t kill those two people. The courts have decided both matters for all time.
Remember, the system works.