- - Tuesday, February 7, 2023

The most fundamental civil right is the right not to be shot, killed, robbed or pushed in front of a subway train. Everyone can see what is happening in America. Violence is occurring in places that used to be violence-free.

A man was beaten to death in the Ellipse park next to the White House during morning rush hour.

Passengers have been stabbed, pushed off train platforms, slashed and beaten in the New York subway. Gunmen have strolled through Washington Metro stations shooting people.

Small and large businesses, including minority-owned businesses, have been looted by mobs across the nation.

And Chicago? This column has space limits.

Beyond my regular pastime litigating for election integrity, I am a presidential appointee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights with a term until 2025.

I and the three other GOP-appointed commissioners tried to do something to address this new threat to civil rights. We wanted to investigate how the crime spike is harming the most basic civil right to safety.

Unfortunately, the four Democrats on the commission weren’t interested in the civil right to be free from the crime sweeping the country.

We started small, simply trying to examine the data, collection methods and data shortcomings, hear real stories from real victims, and see whether increases in crime disproportionately impact minorities.

The commission approved my proposal 4-3-1 to study this crime increase and examine the adequacy of data collection. We wanted to hear real stories from real victims.

Yet when it came time to actually adopt an investigative plan, the vote was 4-4 to scuttle the effort. Even my Democrat co-sponsor voted against it.

Somebody obviously doesn’t want the crime increase story told.

They are trying to fog over the crime spike. They say it isn’t really happening. They blame COVID-19. They blame the economy. They say the situation is improving.

They never wonder about other possible causes, like cash-free bail reform, the demonization of police, and policing practice reforms that put the criminal in charge of police-suspect encounters.

They can’t examine those because it would endanger their transformative gains on those issues.

If enough criminal suspects are released without cash bail and then kill and rob people, it endangers cash-free bail policies.

Nothing motivates Americans like not wanting to be killed and robbed.

It is why the Supreme Court recently found the right of self-defense to be at the heart of the Second Amendment. It is why Justice Clarence Thomas has offered a parade of history showing how freed Blacks after the Civil War needed the Second Amendment to protect peaceable lives from violence.

The civil right to live in peace is fundamental, but it relies on the willingness to defend the peace. That’s what the police do.

Progressives have a long pedigree of hostility toward law enforcement. It goes back at least 50 years. Sometimes the hostility burns low and quiet; other times, it is accompanied by fire and violence.

A burned-out shell of a police cruiser is a trophy for them, and we see the trophies on the evening news, in Baltimore, New York and Portland, Oregon. 

These leftist anarchists live in a dystopian fantasy where police represent the muscle of a racist, fascist corporate state. Their fever dreams lead to murder, chaos and mayhem on our streets.

Right now, there are three vacancies on the Commission on Civil Rights. The staff director, an Obama presidential appointee, has brought the business of the commission to a halt until Democrats can fill the three remaining slots.

The White House should fill the vacancies only with reasonable designees willing to examine the most fundamental civil right — the right to live and work in safety.

If the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights wants to get any business done whatsoever once these three Democrats join, it will be wise to move forward with the plan to examine why America’s streets are filling with blood and violence like we haven’t seen in a long time.

• J. Christian Adams is president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, a former Justice Department attorney and a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

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