Issues & Insights
Jan. 6 demonstrations: A case of two-tiered justice? Source author: Tyler Merbler, published under under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license (

New TIPP Poll Asks: Does America Have A Two-Tier Justice System?

Americans fervently believe in equal justice for all, not just under law but within public institutions such as the media as well, polls have shown. And yet, one recent poll leads to a disturbing conclusion: That America is increasingly turning into a two-tiered system of justice based on politics and beliefs.

The Golden/TIPP Poll (TIPP is also Issues & Insights’ polling partner) asked 1,310 voters online this summer the following question: “Generally speaking, do you agree or disagree with the statement: “There is a two-tiered system of justice in America depending on your political affiliation and ideology?”

The results of the poll, which had a margin of error of +/-2.8 percentage points, were lopsided: 63% agreed either “strongly” (28%) or “somewhat” (35%) that America is moving toward a two-tiered system of justice. Just 17% said they either disagreed “somewhat” (11%) or “strongly” (6%). (Numbers may not add up perfectly due to rounding of the data).

Surprisingly, agreement was broad across multiple demographic categories, with males (68%), females (59%), Whites (61%), Blacks and Hispanics (68%), Democrats (72%), Republicans (63%), and Independents (60%) all in accord. No group was below 50%.

But the answers changed and the consensus weakens when people were specifically asked whether “people who hold your political/religious/cultural ideas, beliefs and values receive equal treatment in America” for each of three major institutions in American life: “the media,” “social media,” and “under the law.”

Take the media. Overall, the split was nearly equal, with 42% agreeing they received equal treatment, and 43% disagreeing.

The political split was far wider.

Among Democrats, 62% agree that their views receive equal treatment by the media. That compares with just 29% for Republicans and 33% for independents. Conversely, only 27% of Democrats disagreed that they received equal treatment, while 60% of GOP voters and 52% of independents disagreed.

Just 35% of women agreed that their beliefs and values got equal treatment from the media, compared with 50% of men. Also, just 39% of White Americans said their views were treated equally, compared to 50% for Blacks and Hispanics.

And a sizeable split could be seen among urban dwellers (55% agree, 34% disagree), suburbanites (40% agree, 46% disagree), and rural Americans (32% agree to 51% disagree).

For the social media, a more-or-less similar split emerged, with 57% of Democrats saying they got a fair shake in the social media, compared to just 26% of Republicans and 32% of independents.

Finally, “under the law,” once again showed a split sense of equal treatment, with 60% of Dems, but only 37% of Republicans and 38% of independents agreeing they were treated equally under the law.

Why do a significant share of Americans, mostly in the center and right side of the political spectrum, believe they receive unfair treatment in the media and under the law?

And how has this idea of two-tiered treatment under the law and within the media arisen? Is it just political paranoia, or something more substantive?

One need only look to President Joe Biden’s widely criticized “Soul of the Nation” speech last week, in which he suggested that the millions of people who voted for President Donald Trump in 2020 “represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.

His harsh remarks, many commentators on both the left and right agreed, were out of bounds, and certain to further widen the growing cultural, social and political differences that have led to some bitter disputes and even violence.

The discrepant treatment of Jan. 6 rioters and the BLM and Antifa rioters is another factor.

Jan. 6 invaders of the Capitol building have been held for over a year and in some cases allegedly seriously mistreated. Some of the estimated 903 people charged with crimes received harsh sentences for their behavior.

Not so BLM and Antifa, who were lauded by the left, including some elected officials, for trashing dozens of cities around the country during the long summer of 2020.

Those riots caused over $2 billion in damage across the nation and led to an estimated 30 deaths or more, yet few were held to account for the violence.

The difference in treatment within the media, both news and opinion outlets and social media, is even more glaring.

In recent weeks, new revelations have emerged about how the White House and FBI have manipulated social media into silencing critics in the center and on the right.

What does it say when the federal government appears to be at war with half of its citizens, the great majority of them law-abiding, tax-paying, hard-working pillar of their own communities?

Or when social media censors anyone who disagrees with the left on climate change, LGBTQ issues, woke speech or any number of other issues?

Or when the president of the United States deems MAGA followers of Donald Trump to be “semi-fascists” for preferring the former president’s policies to what the Democratic Party has to offer?

Perhaps harder still is the well-established fact that much if not most of the so-called mainstream media lean to the left in their political orientation, and routinely show bias in their coverage and hiring.

With 62% of Americans according to a recent Rasmussen poll now saying “fake news” and media bias are problems and are growing worse, it’s become a major issue. So has the routine daily left-wing bias of major outlets, which no longer even pretend to be fair or strive to be objective in their coverage.

Each month, I&I/TIPP publishes polling data on this topic and others of broad public interest. TIPP’s reputation for excellence comes from being the most accurate pollster for the past five presidential elections.

Terry Jones is an editor of Issues & Insights. His four decades of journalism experience include serving as national issues editor, economics editor, and editorial page editor for Investor’s Business Daily.

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Terry Jones

Terry Jones was part of Investor's Business Daily from its inception in 1983, working in a variety of posts, including reporter, economics correspondent, National Issues editor and economics editor. Most recently, from 1996 to 2019, he served as associate editor of the newspaper and deputy editor and editor of IBD's Issues & Insights. His many media appearances include spots on the Larry Kudlow, Bill O’Reilly, Dennis Miller, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and Glenn Beck shows. He also served as Free Markets columnist for Townhall Magazine, and as a weekly guest on PJTV’s The Front Page. He holds both bachelor's and master's degrees from UCLA, and is an Abraham Lincoln Fellow at the Claremont Institute


  • One of the standard strategies used by the the Democrats to deflect blame after they commit a crime is to accuse their opponents of committing the exact same crime. This makes it appear that the true victim is simply parroting the accusations of the Democrats.

    Hillary Clinton secretly placed thousands of classified documents on a private server that was linked to the Internet and is believed to have been hacked by multiple foreign intelligence agencies. She then destroyed evidence by wiping the server and physically destroying some of the computer hardware. She was never charged with a crime or raided by the FBI.

    Trump had documents that he claimed were already declassified, under lock and key and guarded by the Secret Service, collecting dust at his home. The FBI raided in order to retrieve these documents under the pretext that they were later re-classified by Biden, which is a clear case of making an ex post facto executive order. Ex post facto laws are very specifically banned by the US Constitution, and executive orders are simply orders to execute existing laws, and can not be used to override the federal Constitution. This executive order was clearly unconstitutional and is a clear case of Biden violating his duty to ‘take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed’, and is a far more direct and logical reason to impeach Biden than any of the excuses used to impeach Trump. It’s the legal and moral equivalent of driving the wrong way on a one-way street and expecting all of the other cars to get out of your way because you are a special snowflake and the laws don’t apply to you.

    Once again, the double standards of justice are revealed by the absolute disregard for the Constitution and rule of law by the FBI and President Biden, and the complete omission of the most salient facts of the matter by the MSM.

  • Two-tier in justice is part of the path to a one-party (one-tier) state. When Commie Joe rants about unity, he is talking about a one-party or one-tier state. No room for the semi-fascist MAGA enemy in Joe’s “democracy”. One party and one justice system whose sole function is to persecute its enemies and enforce conformity Stalin-style. The red-background stage lighting in Philly hid Joe’s gray, Zombie-like parlor. Missing from the red background was the soviet hammer and sickle atop the red, white and blue flag. But the anti-fa street army bent on destroying the USA as we know it got the message. It was a declaration of domestic war.

    Communist countries typically force party or union membership as a condition for jobs. Like what Moronic California is doing with its new laws tantamount to state seizure of the food services (fast food) industry. The newly-weaponized IRS army will do like in California, and wage war on behalf of Marxist labor unions. In other words, independent contractors and small businesses will be targeted for oblivion in favor of big businesses more easily organized and milked for union and party dues. Two-tier, one-party justice is about to get super-charged when the weaponized IRS with double the troop-size is operational. Thanks a lot, Joe Manchin.

    • That only the wealthy can afford justice is a major point (or subtext?) of the endless Biden/DOJ/FBI/Democrat state attorney general legal attacks on Trump. To let other candidates (e.g. DeSantis) and average MAGA citizens who are not independently wealthy know that they must toe the ruling party line or be bankrupted. That is how DOJ won against General Flynn and others (including January 6 trepassers going to jail for several years): plead guilty or be bankrupted defending yourself. The act of government prosecution is itself a major punishment. To make matters worse, in some jurisdictions prisoners are billed at luxury hotel rates for every day spent in jail!

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