Ashli Babbitt Memorial

What Constitution? DOJ Seeks to Deny Ashli Babbitt’s Family an “Impartial Jury”

(WND News Center)—The headline above is not at all hyperbolic. In its efforts to “save democracy,” the Biden Department of Justice (DOJ) is seeking to deny the family members of Ashli Babbitt their constitutional rights.

In the way of background, on Jan. 5, 2024, Judicial Watch filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the United States of America on behalf of the estate of Ashli Babbitt and Aaron Babbitt, her husband.

A 14-year Air Force veteran, the unarmed Ashli was shot and killed on Jan. 6, 2021, by Lt. Michael Byrd inside the U.S. Capitol. Byrd, who was not even disciplined for this reckless shooting, has since been promoted to captain.

As I report in my new book, “Ashli: The Untold Story of the Women of January 6,” Ashli had implored the Capitol Police to control the chaos in the narrow corridor where she was trapped.

When the three officers guarding the door inexplicably walked away, Ashli tried to escape the madness through a broken window. Byrd shot her on sight without warning.

To bring suit, Judicial Watch chose the most natural venue, the United States District Court of the Southern District of California. Aaron Babbitt and Ashli’s other family members live in San Diego County as did Ashli before she was killed.

According to a federal law, “A civil action on a tort claim against the United States may be prosecuted in the judicial district where the plaintiff resides.” Alternatively, the claim may be filed in the district in which the incident occurred.

As Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton points out, the “first reaction” of the Department of Justice was to request that the suit be moved out of the court where it was filed and to Washington, D.C.

“The request for a change in venue is clearly influenced by Defendant’s strongest motivation for changing venue,” says Fitton, “which is to select the forum where it feels it would receive a favorable process and outcome based on adversity against January 6 participants.”

The numbers back Fitton’s argument. In a district in which Trump pulled only 5% of the vote, Trump-affiliated plaintiffs would have no chance of securing an impartial jury and little chance of getting an impartial judge.

This argument is not theoretical. After hundreds of trials, no January 6 defendant has been acquitted by a D.C. jury, and only two have been acquitted by a D.C. judge in a bench trial.

In San Diego County, President Donald Trump received just 37% of the vote in 2020, but there plaintiffs seen as sympathetic to Trump would have at least a chance of securing an impartial jury.

The right to an impartial jury is fundamental. According to the Sixth Amendment, “[i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed.”

The Seventh Amendment addresses civil cases. Here, too, the parties involved are guaranteed a right to a trial by jury. From the nation’s beginning, the Seventh Amendment has been interpreted to extend the right to an “impartial jury” to both the plaintiff and the defendant.

No matter how one interprets the law, the Biden DOJ made the conscious decision to flout the Constitution and deny the Babbitt family their right to an impartial jury.

It is highly unlikely that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) will come to the Babbitt family’s defense. On the first anniversary of January 6, the California chapter signed on to the kind of letter the ACLU chapter of ancient Rome might have written about the Vandals or the Visigoths.

“On January 6 of last year, the residents of D.C. were traumatized as an insurrectionist mob roamed our streets, harassed our neighbors, and violently broke into the Capitol Building, killing at least five people – all in an attempt to overthrow the counting of American citizens’ votes.”

Locals, of course, were not traumatized by the mob, but they have been traumatized by the media’s relentless inflammation of the day’s events. Their repeated guilty verdicts testify to the hysteria the media have generated.

Judicial Watch has asked the federal court to deny the Justice Department’s request. Unfortunately, smart money is on the DOJ.

Jack Cashill’s new book, “Ashli: The Untold Story of the Women of January 6,” is now available for purchase.

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