An All Too Common View

In a Wall Street Journal article reporting on President Donald Trump, some of his family members, and his businesses suing a couple of banks to block Congressional subpoenas for 10 years worth of business records, a commenter in the comment thread had this to say:

The lawsuits by POTUS, et al., are an admission of domestic tax and business fraud.

This is a broadly held view by folks on the Left.  Objections of innocence are admissions of guilt.  Attempts to protect proprietary materials from prying eyes are admissions of guilt.  Attempts to protect privacy are admissions of guilt.

After all, goes their…logic…if someone hasn’t done anything wrong, if there’s nothing to hide, that person shouldn’t object to Government rummaging through his stuff.  Privacy, proprietary-ness—these aren’t things to be kept private or proprietary.  Let Government have a peek.

More dangerous than that severe danger, because it’s both more insidious and has broad-ranging implications, is the concept that if a Government issues a subpoena, it must be obeyed forthwith; it’s wrong to challenge it.  If that becomes the case, though, then the subpoena process will be reduced to a formality: everything in a man’s, or a business’, life will become free for the formal demanding by an unchallengeable Government.

That failure easily extends to the 4th Amendment: warrants will issue as easily as ever, but they cannot be challenged, either, even after the fact.  To do so would be another admission of guilt; after all, if the person or business has nothing to hide, then Government should be allowed to rifle through persons, houses, papers, and effects, only satisfying the formality of a claim of probable cause—which claim also must be beyond question.

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