For those who could devote the time to watch the impeachment hearings, they ranged from boring, outrageous, pedestrian and fascinating. In the course of her testimony, deposed Ukrainian ambassador Marie Yovanovich compared the difference of Russian/Ukrainian justice with our own: the Slavic view uses the justice department as tool to serve the party in power while our view, officially at least, expects the justice department to enforce the law wherever it applies whether it favors Democrats or Republicans.

This is an ancient tension. Plato, in Book I of the Republic, portrays the former view as he introduces Thasymachus who argues that “justice is in the interest of the stronger” whether a king or the party in power. Likewise, President Trump uses the Justice Department as a weapon of his office to serve him personally. This partly explains his admiration of Putin and other such despots.

An obvious objection to the Slavic view is that federal justice loses its objectivity and becomes subservient to the partisan objectives of the party in power. Lady Justice is no longer blindfolded; she is directed to serve the will of the stronger, not justice itself.

Admittedly, our Anglo/American system is not innocent of political bias itself as presidents appoint Supreme Court justices. But Trump takes this one step further by appointing his shadow agents to smear a loyal diplomat and replaces her by someone who will execute a quid pro quo deal which serves him personally.

Jock Glidden


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