SHIELDS: Alvin Bragg Is a Symptom of a Larger Problem

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Friday, May 26, 2023


Because of the failures of New York’s system of governance, Jordan Neely is dead, and a Marine is facing up to fifteen years in prison for manslaughter. 

New York failed Neely by not committing him to a mental healthcare institution, despite his mental illness and drug abuse. 

New York failed its people by allowing a man who had been arrested 42 times including for the crimes of punching a 67-year-old woman in the face and attempting to kidnap a 7-year-old girl to roam their streets. 

Most of all, New York failed Daniel Penny. By all available evidence, the former Marine and American hero refused to sit idly by as Neely allegedly threatened the other subway passengers. He took action to protect those around him.

Penny did his duty to God and neighbor. In New York, where evil is called good and good is called evil, this could not go unpunished. Soros-funded Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who has no desire to prosecute actual criminals, charged the Marine.

Bragg is not pursuing justice, but rather a political win to further his reelection hopes. There is much else here to criticize, but the problem of electing large numbers of executive officers must be acknowledged and reformed. The scope of this problem is vast, not merely contained to leftist cities but enshrined even in conservative states. 

It was in large part the Progressive Era with its foolish embrace of democracy over republicanism that caused lesser executive officers to be elected rather than appointed by the governor. 

The most apparent faults of this design are the disallowment of a unitary executive and the voter fatigue caused by long ballots that actually decreases democratic participation. Yet among the most dangerous of its faults is the perversion of justice caused by those members of the executive tasked with prosecution not being insulated from the will of the people. 

As it is so that the people must elect the chief executive lest their legislative will be perpetually stifled, the complete insulation of lesser executive officers from the will of the people cannot be justly desired nor effectuated.

Nevertheless it is the duty of the executive to enforce the law impartially, and only by securing for lesser executive officers a partial insulation from the people may this duty be upheld. In providing no such insulation for executive officers like Bragg, we provide a near certainty that the duty will be neglected or outright defied. 

Unlike the chief executive, who has a vast scope of responsibilities and is thus able to remain impartial regarding the administration of justice perhaps to the dissatisfaction of his base while pleasing them in other ways, a district attorney such as Bragg has nothing he can offer his base but the perversion of justice. His only means of pleasing them and securing his electoral victory is acquiescing to their mob rule. His every incentive is toward partiality and injustice. 

The lesser executive officer also differs from the chief executive in that the chief executive is typically, though not always, subject to a larger electorate and therefore subject to a multitude of factions and cannot appease one at the expense of all others lest they vote against him. This provides the chief executive with the incentive to temper his more zealous and selfish inclinations, which manifests in the administration of justice by refraining from sparing one’s friends and prosecuting one’s enemies, and instead upholding one’s obligation to impartiality. 

A lesser officer will frequently have a lesser jurisdiction, and therefore a smaller electorate very often composed nearly entirely of a single faction as is the case with Bragg. The incentive of such an officer is not to moderate, but to radicalize. Not to strive toward impartiality, but partiality. The officer can choose to become a tool of the passions of the majority, feeding their every lust and tyrannical impulse and thereby secure his electoral victory, or he can choose to defy their tyranny and administer justice equally toward all factions, only to be rewarded by electoral defeat. 

With the politician being concerned first and foremost with his own interests and ambitions, such a system inevitably leads to the circumstance our republic finds itself in, where heroes are prosecuted and criminals left free on the basis of race and maintaining a political narrative. 

If those in the executive are to enforce the law rather than disregard it and pursue justice rather than injustice, they must be incentivized to do so. 

A necessary step in incentivizing them is ending the direct election of such executive officers and allowing the governors of the several states to appoint them with the approval of each state’s high chamber. Then, Lord willing, prosecutors will become more likely to prosecute on the basis of the law rather than the lusts of the mob. 

Jack Shields is a graduate of Texas A&M University and is currently attending Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. He is an editor and columnist for Lone Conservative, and a reporter for The College Fix.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.


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About Jack Shields

Jack Shields is a graduate of Texas A&M University and is currently attending Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. He is an editor and columnist for Lone Conservative, and a reporter for The College Fix.

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