Trump Never Bothered To Hide His Contempt for the Constitution
President Donald Trump has never bothered to hide his contempt for the Constitution. By my count, he has openly trashed the principles and safeguards contained in the First Amendment, Second Amendment, Fifth Amendment, and 14th Amendment, plus the doctrine of enumerated powers and the constitutional separation of powers. To that sorry list we may now add Trump’s attacks on the Electors Clause and on the peaceful transfer of constitutional power after a presidential election.
Let’s walk through it, starting with the First Amendment.
As a presidential candidate in 2015, Trump argued that the federal government had “absolutely no choice” but to close down mosques in the name of fighting terrorism. The First Amendment, of course, protects religious liberty and stands against such assaults on houses of worship.
The federal government must enact “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” Trump argued that same year. His own running mate, Mike Pence, described that idea as “offensive and unconstitutional.” Trump’s reply? The Constitution “doesn’t necessarily give us the right to commit suicide as a country, OK?”
The notion that “the Constitution is not a suicide pact” has always been the last refuge of those who are scheming to violate the document. Mr. President, you can’t declare war unilaterally! Well, you know, the Constitution is not a suicide pact. Mr. President, you can’t ban private gun ownership! Aw, come on, we all know the Constitution is not a suicide pact.
Speaking of the Second Amendment, Trump enjoys the rare distinction of having been benchslapped twice by his own judicial appointees over his administration’s cavalier attempts to expand federal gun control. After 2017’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, Trump vowed to ban bump stocks, a type of firearm accessory that the shooter reportedly used. “We can do that with an executive order,” Trump asserted. “They’re working on it right now, the lawyers.”
What the lawyers at the Department of Justice concocted for Trump was a new Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regulation “to clarify that [bump stocks] are ‘machineguns’ as defined by the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the Gun Control Act of 1968.” In other words, at Trump’s behest, the federal government would reinterpret the federal ban on machine guns to ban bump stocks too.
Not so fast, said Justice Neil Gorsuch. The executive branch “used to tell everyone that bump stocks don’t qualify as ‘machineguns.’ Now it says the opposite,” Gorsuch wrote in a statement respecting the denial of certiorari in Guedes v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (2020). Yet “the law hasn’t changed, only an agency’s interpretation of it,” the justice complained. “How
Article from Latest – Reason.com