Conservative talking heads are missing two crucial points in the aftermath of the sham conviction of former President Donald Trump. First, almost any group of randomly selected jurors from the leftist enclave of New York City would convict Trump of any asserted crime, regardless of the facts or law. Judge Juan Merchan behaved despicably on the bench, but the jury was not duped by Merchan – the jury eagerly followed his lead. Second, Trump’s prospects on appeal are far grimmer than most conservative pundits assume. Juan Merchan is not the exception to the rule regarding New York’s overwhelmingly leftist and politically activist judiciary – he is par for the course. New York’s appellate judges are no more likely to rule dispassionately on Trump’s appeal than was Merchan. While righteous outrage at Merchan and the guilty verdict are appropriate, simply crying about the verdict is pointless. Instead, a Republican-majority Congress, after the November elections, must implement effective legal reforms.

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Implementing effective and appropriate reforms requires fully understanding the nature of the problem. The problem is politically leftist judges and politically leftist juries do not believe that justice should be blind. Prominent conservative defendants will never get a fair hearing from leftist judges or juries. Moreover, the current system is rigged so that politically motivated prosecutions or civil suits will almost always be decided in a leftist-dominated venue.

The lion’s share of federal cases against conservatives are filed in the District of Columbia Circuit Court. Filing in the DC circuit ensures that more than 90 percent of the jury pool are Democrats and predisposed to ruling against any conservative defendant. Even in federal cases filed in other circuits, the circuit court is almost always in a state’s capital city or a large urban center. Here, also, the jury pool is usually overwhelmingly Democrat and politically biased.

The same holds true for criminal and civil cases filed against conservatives in state courts. Conservatives in New York State are almost always confronted with an overwhelmingly leftist New York City jury pool. Conservatives in Illinois are almost always confronted with an overwhelmingly leftist Chicago jury pool. The same is true in most states, with conservatives facing a court and jury pool in the most left-leaning part of the state.

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Without immediate reform, the problem of politically weaponized lawfare is only going to get worse, not better. The targeting of Donald Trump in a multitude of civil and criminal lawsuits is only the tip of the iceberg. Political leftists have recently and successfully targeted Steve Bannon, General David Petraeus, Mark Steyn, and others. The conviction of Trump will only whet the Left’s appetite for more political lawfare.

To salvage a fair legal system and prevent America from slipping into a banana republic, Republicans must act immediately and forcefully upon gaining control of Congress and state legislatures in January 2025.

First, any civil or criminal defendant in a federal case who plausibly asserts that political or ideological factors may taint a jury pool can veto the Washington DC circuit and receive a hearing in his or her choice of another randomly chosen circuit or the circuit of his or her home dwelling.

Second, regardless of what circuit a federal case is filed in, any civil or criminal defendant who plausibly asserts that political or ideological factors may taint a jury pool shall be entitled to a jury pool that is proportionally selected from a region that did not vote more than 70 percent in favor of one party’s candidate in the most recent presidential, senatorial, or congressional election.

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Third, plaintiffs or prosecutors in a federal case may elect to have the case decided in a randomly assigned circuit other than the District of Columbia. This would ensure that corrupt and criminal Democrats do not get a free pass on anything they do simply because they know a DC jury pool would never convict them of anything, no matter how egregious the offense.

Fourth, Congress should mandate that any states receiving federal funds for any legal or law enforcement purposes must abide by the same rules guaranteeing a defendant a politically fair jury pool.

Fifth, state legislators should enact similar laws ensuring political fairness for trials in their state.

In summary, all Americans are entitled to a jury of our peers, or at least a jury that is not politically biased. Unfortunately, conservative Americans are being increasingly subjected to politically weaponized lawfare. Nevertheless, solutions are available if Republican policymakers have the courage to implement them.

James Taylor ([email protected]) is President of The Heartland Institute.