"I'm honored to have you here."
Vice President Mike Pence recognizes ex-sheriff Joe Arpaio during a tax policy event in Arizona, calling Arpaio a "tireless champion of strong borders and the rule of law." pic.twitter.com/tzmS3sKPnN
— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 1, 2018
For the Vice President to call someone held in contempt of court for unconstitutional racial profiling a “tireless champion” of the rule of law isn’t just a stretch, it’s an insult. https://t.co/yV2Y09XT51
— ACLU (@ACLU) May 2, 2018
Whited sepulchre embraces self-propelled MRSA sore. Per Eric Levitz, at NYMag:
Progressives have long argued that Republicans use “law and order” as a racial dog whistle. A reverence for the letter of the law — and its impartial enforcement — was never actually a cornerstone of conservative politics, the left alleges. Rather, what truly matters to the right is the maintenance of “order”; which is to say, of social and racial hierarchies…
But the indifference of (many) conservative proponents of “the rule of law” to the conventional definition of the phrase has never been more naked than during the Trump era. And last night in Arizona, Mike Pence gave his movement’s contempt for equality before the law some especially indecent exposure…
To say that Joe Arpaio is a “tireless champion” of “the rule of law” is to concede the left’s darkest interpretation of what conservatives mean by that term.
Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt in 2016 for refusing to honor a court order. His office had made a regular practice of detaining its Latino constituents solely because they looked, to Arpaio’s (overwhelmingly white) deputies, like they weren’t legal U.S. residents. The judiciary said this was unconstitutional. Arpaio said (essentially) that he couldn’t care less — and then, so did the president of the United States, who directly undermined the rule of law (at least, under that term’s conventional definition) by handing Arpaio a pardon last August.
But criminally racist profiling was among the lesser offenses on Joe’s (figurative) rap sheet. During his decades-long tenure as sheriff, Arpaio presided over (what he himself called) a “concentration camp,” where low-level offenders and undocumented immigrants were subjected to daily cruel and unusual punishments. In Tent City, men and women who’d been convicted of — or, in most cases, merely charged with — crimes like drug use, shoplifting, and working with false documents were forced to live outdoors, year-round… At least 157 of all Arpaio’s prisoners died before they got out. At least a quarter of those deaths were the result of suicide — for nearly half of them, authorities provided no official cause of death whatsoever.
And the sheriff’s reign of terror extended well beyond his prison’s gates. His officers subjected Latino Arizonans — citizens and noncitizens alike — to routine harassment and abuse… When journalists or local politicians criticized these practices, Arpaio used the law as a weapon against them, raiding the homes of newspaper publishers and indicting office-holders on bogus felony charges…