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Why Stewart Rhodes' sedition conviction matters

Conservatives are no longer the party of law and order. Thank God for the judicial branch.

“They won’t fear us until we come with rifles in hand.” That’s what Oath Keeper leader Stewart Rhodes wrote in a message ahead of the Jan. 6 attack. After the attack, in a recording that was played in court during his trial, he said his only regret was that they “should have brought rifles.”

At least 400 rioters have already received sentences for their crimes committed on Jan. 6, 2021.

At least 200 have been incarcerated for rioting, beating cops, and planning to overthrow American democracy. Multiple will now be sent to prison for sedition.

As of this January, the FBI was still seeking 350 criminals who committed violent acts at the U.S. Capitol. The search goes on; the rioters will be found. And they will be brought to justice.

Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis praise these rioters, these seditionists, these convicts — sending a very clear, loud message to others who beat cops with American flags and storm government buildings to destroy American democracy. That message? Stand back and stand by.

The rotted corpse of what once was Republican Party lurches forward, zombie-like, following Donald Trump into whatever gutter he takes them on this 8-year march toward fascism.

Conservatives once talked about being the party of law and order. They argued that criminal penalties did not just punish violators like Stewart Rhodes, but also discouraged other people from committing those same violent crimes.

But no more.

Thank God for the judicial branch. It is the only one of three branches that stayed true to James Madison’s promise of checks and balances across our Republic’s government.

Federal judges — both conservative and liberal — are not mindlessly following a leader. And that is why the rule of law still reigns supreme in America, and why justice keeps getting done in courthouses across this nation every day.

This is an adapted excerpt from the May 26 episode of “Morning Joe.”