Mark Tushnet, a prominent liberal law professor at Harvard University, is none too pleased about the negative media coverage surrounding Donald Trump. Pointing to a recent New York Times article which faulted Trump for his attacks on free speech and the rule of law, Tushnet wrote the following:
I almost certainly wouldn't endorse the view that Trump shows contempt for the rule of law and the First Amendment—not because I agree with his views, of course, but because "the rule of law" and "the First Amendment" are almost entirely without content, so that I don't know how someone could show contempt to "them"—if there's no there there, I can't see how you could be contemptuous of "it."
Perhaps things look different in Professor Tushnet's classroom, but my copy of the First Amendment contains a fair bit of "content." Among other things, it forbids the government from prohibiting the free exercise of religion and it forbids the government from abridging free speech and freedom of the press. Donald Trump, of course, has directly attacked all three of those core First Amendment principles. In an attack on religious freedom, Trump said the government should forcibly shutter houses of worship. In an attack on free speech, Trump said the government should censor the internet. In an attack on freedom of the press, Trump said libel laws should be gutted so that it would be easier to silence journalists.
There is a word for Trump's agenda on these issues and that word is unconstitutional. It's a shame that a tenured Harvard law professor can't bring himself to use the correct legal terminology.