The conviction of the Chief Justice may seem like a triumph for the prosecution panel, but it is a hollow victory. Left to their own devices, the inexperienced prosecutors would have had a snowflake’s chance in hell against the legal leviathans of the defense panel. Despite their courtroom success, we must not deceive ourselves with the cheap, romantic notion that the prosecution attorneys were ever the heroic underdogs.
As a purely legal exercise, the Impeachment proceedings border on judicial farce. However, don’t let’s forget, that this ‘historic’ event was never, at its heart, a purely legal exercise.
In the days preceding the Trial, as sordid allegations of corruption in the hallowed Judiciary reached breaking point, the defrauded masses of our nation demanded that justice be served (in this case a Chief Justice’s head; served, as one would expect, on a platter). And the country’s elected lawmakers found themselves more than willing to seize the opportunity, and pander to the vengeful lusts of their frenzied electorate.
The Impeachment Trial was held in the court of public opinion, and arbitrated by politicians who, by definition, COURT public opinion.
In hindsight, it may be said, that the guilty verdict’s bureaucratic inevitability was as capricious as the judicial untenability of the decision itself. It would have been impossible for the arbiters to reach their decision to convict unless their criteria for judging differed from the rules of the courtroom. In other words, the Impeachment Tribunal’s final decision, although legally unjustifiable was, ultimately, a matter of political expedience.
Historically, this will serve as an illustration of the tenuous liaison between the Rule of Law and the Power of Politics.
I, for one, am willing to concede that justice of a kind has been served. But it is admittedly, not the kind of justice as prescribed by the Letter of the Law.
And if it is not justice as prescribed by the Letter of the Law, we must ask ourselves two very disturbing questions, “Exactly what kind of justice is it?” and “Will there be more where it came from?”