What Do We Know About “No One Is Above The Law,” “Gag Order”?

by Elpidio R. Estioko

There are a lot of things going on in the country’s political landscape today as we move on watching on television how House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted from his position by his GOP colleagues and Rep. Jim Jordan seeking the position for the third balloting and lately, eight more (the 9th dropped out from the race last night) GOP aspiring for speakership.

As these developed, we are confronted with many more developments such as the meanings of “No one is above the law” and “gag order.”

As I See It, this means that no person, government official, government is above the law following principles that are fundamental in preserving the rule of law.

I subscribe to the idea that: “All people are ruled by the law. Law enforcers, the government, and judges must adhere to the law without bias or prejudice.”

In ordinary parlance, this is often used to describe people in high-level positions who wrongly believe they should not have to obey rules or laws because they think they are too important or too powerful.

In other words, “above the law” means not having to obey the law or rules or standards.

When former President Donald Trump appeared before Judge Arthur Engoron in the $250 million civil case against him, we are reminded of New York Attorney General Letitia James’ initial statement when Judge Engoron ruled against Trump: “No one is above the law.”“No matter how powerful you are, and no matter how much money you think you have, no one is above the law,” he said on her way into the courthouse before Judge Engoron.

The judge overseeing the civil trial of former President Donald Trump in New York issued a gag order barring those involved in the case from posting information about his staff.

Judge Arthur Engoron told all participants in the case not to smear court personnel, warning of “serious sanctions” if they did.

Rebuking Trump, judge Engoron imposed a limited gag order Tuesday in the former president’s civil business fraud trial and ordered him to delete a social media post that publicly maligned a key court staffer.

“Personal attacks on members of my court staff are unacceptable, not appropriate, and I will not tolerate them,” Engoron said after complaining — without naming names — about a defendant’s” disparaging, untrue and personally-identifying post about a member of my staff.”

In a separate article by Matthew J. Galluzzo, he stated that a gag order instructs a party to a litigation to refrain from speaking publicly about the case.

Galluzzo said a New York judge overseeing a criminal case has the power to issue a gag order over one or more of the parties to the case. Gag orders are relatively rare, however. They certainly are not done as a matter of routine.

A gag order can be imposed, just like what Judge Engoron has done, upon a defendant where the defendant makes deliberate attempts to undermine the “true administration of justice” by tampering with the jury pool and making extrajudicial statements.

A court should hold an evidentiary hearing on the issue of the violation of the court order before making a decision. The decision will be made by the court. The maximum jail time for a violation will be 30 days at Rikers Island.

While Trump is supposedly not scheduled to appear, he voluntarily appeared in court, for many understood as a campaign gimmick, to further solidify his lead in the ongoing GOP primary leading to the expected showdown with President Joe Biden during the 2024 election.

The way it’s going, Trump will likely get the nod of the GOP as their standard bearer for the 2024 election and Biden as the standard bearer of the Democrats due to the doctrine of the equity of the incumbent. So, expect a showdown of Biden vs. Trump in 2024!

Lately, Trump has been using all his legal setbacks as campaign gimmicks to further his ambition of going back to the White House in 2024. Will the gag order limit this?

For years, Trump has accused James of pursuing him for political gain. He even called her a “political hack” and a “deranged, Trump-hating judge.”

In a statement released, somehow in answer to Trump, James said:

“For years, Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth to enrich himself and cheat the system. No matter how rich or powerful you are, there are not two sets of laws for people in this country. The rule of law must apply equally to everyone, and it is my responsibility to make sure that it does.”

Trump’s attorney, Christopher Kise, argued that the overvaluations are examples of Trump’s “genius,” announcing in court that he is “a master at finding value where others see nothing.”

Kise might be correct because Trump declared bankruptcy several times in the past, but he made money out of it by finding some loopholes in the law.

With the gag order, I hope Trump will stop talking about the case and let the rule of law prevail!

Get the latest stories from Hawaii Filipino Chronicle straight to your inbox! Subscribe to our FREE newsletter here.

was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and an award-winning journalist here in the US. He just published his book Unlocking the Chain of Poverty: In Pursuit of the American Dream which is now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Xlibris Publishing. For feedbacks, comments… please email author at estiokoelpidio@gmail.com).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.