(City Journal) -- The expunging of the 16-count felony indictment against actor Jussie Smollett for faking a hate crime against himself is being treated as a manifestation of Chicago-machine politics, whereby the politically well-connected enjoy a different standard of justice than everyone else. Feminist attorney Tina Tchen, the former chief of staff to First Lady Michelle Obama, had contacted Cook County prosecutor Kim Foxx about the case on behalf of a member of Smollett’s family. But the dismissal of a seemingly watertight case, based on the sworn confessions of Smollett’s two co-conspirators and reams of physical evidence, represents more than celebrity justice. It is rather the latest example of the incursion of academic identity politics into the workings of government.
Had Smollett been a straight white male who had staged his own attack by fake Antifa Trump antagonists, he would most certainly still be facing a trial and the prospect of prison time. But Foxx is a leading figure in the recent national wave of progressive local prosecutors who came to power by playing race politics. She campaigned on the Critical Race Theory credo that the criminal-justice system is endemically biased. She inveighed against the so-called school-to-prison pipeline and promised to reduce racial disparities in prosecutions. Last month, she dismissed aggravated battery charges against a 16-year-old student who had attacked two Chicago police officers; the Chicago police union argued that her dismissal of the charges fit a pattern of favoring offenders over police officers. Foxx operates in a cultural milieu that holds that the fact that a hate crime is a hoax is less important than the fact that it could have been true. Prosecuting Smollett could have sent another black man to prison. Is there a race-based system of justice here?