Donald Trump

Trump Invokes 'the Constitution the Way It Was Meant to Be,' Yet Trump's Agenda Is Manifestly Unconstitutional

Reviewing the GOP candidate's positions on constitutional issues.

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Reason

"It's all about the Constitution," Donald Trump declared last night at the third and final presidential debate. Asked about the future of the U.S. Supreme Court by moderator Chris Wallace, Trump was seeking to explain why voters should trust him to nominate justices with "a conservative bent" who will view "the Constitution the way it was meant to be. [T]hose are the people that I will appoint."

But why should voters trust Trump to appoint constitutionally sound judges when so much of Trump's own agenda is so manifestly unconstitutional? Donald Trump may be many things, but one thing that he most certainly is not is "all about the Constitution."

What's unconstitutional about Trump's agenda? Here are a few examples:

  • Trump has trashed the First Amendment by calling for internet censorship, government shuttering of houses of worship, and the gutting of libel laws in order to make it easier to silence journals.
  • Trump has trashed both the Second Amendment and the Fourth Amendment by calling for a nationwide "stop and frisk" scheme designed to "take the gun away."
  • Trump has trashed the Fifth Amendment by endorsing an effectively unlimited government power to seize private property via eminent domain. (Trump also tried to personally profit from this form of government abuse.)
  • Trump has trashed the Eighth Amendment by saying he would order U.S. troops to commit torture and other war crimes.
  • Trump has trashed the 14th Amendment by saying he would deny U.S. citizenship to certain citizens just because those citizens were born to non-citizen parents.
  • Trump has trashed the principles of due process and equal protection by advocating government mistreatment of religious minorities, including his call to ban Muslims from entering the United States.
  • Trump has trashed the doctrine of limited and enumerated executive powers by praising Franklin Roosevelt's notorious wartime internment of Japanese-Americans.

In short, Trump's agenda bears little resemblance to "the Constitution the way it was meant to be."

Related: Constitutional Originalists Against Trump

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  1. “Reviewing the GOP candidate’s positions on constitutional issues.”

    It’s about time someone got around to this.

    1. I’m making $90 an hour working from home. I was shocked when my neighbour told me she was averaging $120 but I see how it works now. I feel so much freedom now that I’m my own boss. Go to this web site and click Tech tab to start your work…. http://www.ImdbCash.tk

    2. Does this mean they’re about to get to the goddamned project Veritas videos that show, explicitly, that the Democrats are wanted to usher in a true age of totalitarianism and are willing to lie cheat and kill to do it?

    3. OK, here goes: The GOP platform says: “…any value added tax or national sales tax must be tied to the simultaneous repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment, which established the federal income tax.”
      This is the invisible forgotten plank.

  2. I’m making $90 an hour working from home. I was shocked when my neighbour told me she was averaging $120 but I see how it works now. I feel so much freedom now that I’m my own boss. Go to this web site and click Tech tab to start your work…. http://www.ImdbCash.tk

  3. I don’t see anything in the constitution about not being allowed to build a wall.

    1. The constitution does however allow the federal government to set the terms for entry into the US, which doesn’t exclude any tests they may choose to impose.

      1. If we want to get literal about what the Constitution says, the Constitution gives Congress the power to make laws regarding naturalization. There’s nothing about Congress setting terms for entry, let alone the president.

        1. The constitution permits government to do whatever it doesn’t expressly forbid, as libertarians always say.

          1. Welcome to Retardation: A Celebration. Now, hopefully, I’m gonna dispel a few myths, a few rumors. First off, the retarded don’t rule the night. They don’t rule it. Nobody does. And they don’t run in packs. And while they may not be as strong as apes, don’t lock eyes with ’em, don’t do it. Puts ’em on edge. They might go into berzerker mode; come at you like a whirling dervish, all fists and elbows. You might be screaming “No, no, no” and all they hear is “Who wants cake?” Let me tell you something: They all do. They all want cake.

          2. And the Tenth Amendment expressly forbids whatever the Constitution does not expressly authorize.

      2. I believe the Confederate Constitution discouraged a Wall of tariff protectionism…

  4. I’m glad we’re starting to get some information about this reclusive Trump fellow.

    1. Over all this WW3 talk and other silly things, we need to be reminded how scary Trump is.

  5. But why should voters trust Trump to appoint constitutionally sound judges when so much of Trump’s own agenda is so manifestly unconstitutional?

    Because he’s such a twit, he doesn’t realize the implications of appointing originalists. He’d complain about them later once he realized they were putting the breaks on some of the more insane parts of his mostly incoherent agenda.

    1. The brakes too.

    2. Trump may or may not appoint constitutionally sound judges. Hillary will most definitely not appoint constitutionally sound judges.

      1. Why do you want guns in the hands of toddlers?

        1. Because chainsaws are really dangerous for them to handle?

        2. Because their aim is better than most cops?

        3. It’s a great way to improve their hand-eye coordination?

          1. To enable them to shoot their way out of forced-labor Hitlerjugend camps?

      2. Beside the point. You guys need to put up someone who’s minimally qualified for the job before you get to make these kinds of judgments.

          1. No man, he knows you’re closet GOP.

            1. Drat!
              *pulls cloak over face, runs off*

          2. Johnson is acceptable apart from the fact that he’s running as a fringe candidate and not a real one.

            1. When Libertarian Party candidates start winning Biparty primaries, then you’ll take them seriously, eh?

        1. Yeah, Hillary is “qualified” in governing like Typhoid Mary was qualified in catering.
          Does it hurt to be so stupid and dishonest, Tonykins?

          1. It does not possess the required level of self-awareness.

  6. You know, I just took a closer read of all his positions… so it’s true, Trump does want to make us more like Europe. Why do the Democrats hate Trump again?

    1. Cuz he’ll have an (R) next to his name on the ballot.

      1. Ah, the same reason he has so many fans here.

        1. Ah, the same reason he has so many fans here.

          Don’t forget: “Derka, derka, but Hillary!”

  7. One of the promos for last night’s Cubs-Dodgers game featured 20 year old pitcher Julio Urias started off by making fun of lazy, worthless Millennials who do nothing all day long.

    It was pretty fucking awesome, and got a big laugh out of me, and I suspect many others.

  8. How about attaching the words of the constitution to those things you claim are unconstitutional.

    1. The constitution gives the government enumerated powers. That puts the burden of proof on those who want the government to do something, not on those who claim that a particular power is not listed.

      1. Those enumerated powers include immigration and naturalization so this list is mostly shit.

        1. Actually the enumerated powers only mention naturalization. Also, the enumerated powers refer to Congress, not the president. Additionally, you can still debate whether the government is carrying out it’s enumerated powers in a constitutional manner.

          Lastly, the immigration ban thing was one bullet point out of seven, so I fail to see how it makes the list “mostly shit” even if it is wrong.

          1. There is one clause temporarily depriving Congress of power to restrict immigration, which implies a power to do so after 1808.

      2. Absolutely!
        There is not a single word in the Constitution regarding eating a hot dog at the ballpark, and yet the government has no right to deny me that enjoyment.
        The constitution does NOT grant rights. The constitution is a limit on what government is allowed to do.

    2. He’ll do that on tomorrow’s Hillary list?

  9. I’m thinking Reason is expecting Trump to win so they are not wasting time writing articles about Hillary.

    1. My hope is the opposite. They believe Trump articles have an expiration date, but Hillary articles they have four years to write.

      1. Makes sense. Reason seems to get paid for bitching about government, irrespective of who’s nominally running it. Trump gives them a chance for variety by giving them somebody to bitch about who isn’t in the government and thus they pile on while the piling’s good.

    2. Since the debate last night, there have been 3 articles about Trump, 2 about Clinton, and several about both. Hardly some massive discrepancy.

      And at this point, I’m struggling to see how anyone can expect Trump to win at this point. He needs a massive turnaround in less than three weeks.

      1. Its weird. The national polls are still very pro-Trump (having him tied or leading) the state polls have him getting his ass whipped. Someone is wrong, and I’m not afraid to say that I have no idea who. The only thing that would surprise me is Gary Johnson winning.

        1. “The national polls are still very pro-Trump (having him tied or leading)”

          I don’t think that’s the case. A few polls have shown that, but the averages have Clinton up at least 6 points. Links are to RCP’s 2 and 4 way averages.

          http://www.realclearpolitics.c…..-5952.html

          http://www.realclearpolitics.c…..-5491.html

          1. The two very most recent national polls from today (Rasmussen and IBD) have Trump leading 43-40 and 41-40, respectively. He’s tied 45-45 with Clinton in new Suffolk poll of Ohio.

            1. It’s better to look at averages than one or two individual polls. Rasmussen has generally been a favorable poll for Trump this cycle, and Republicans in general for a while. They missed badly in 2012, for example. I’m not as familiar with IBD, although I noticed that oddly Trump was slightly higher in the 4 way than 2 way (not relative to Clinton – he actually got more votes), so I’m not sure what to take from that. Multiple polls released yesterday had Clinton up comfortably, some of them from outlets that haven’t been bad for Trump this cycle. I’d wait for more polls to come out before declaring the race tied again (or Trump leading).

              Also, Ohio has probably been Trump’s most favorable swing state other than Iowa this cycle. It’s been a tossup for a while. But he needs Florida, and at least two, possibly three more states in addition to Ohio and Iowa. And Clinton has been leading clearly in all of those states recently.

          2. The three national polls out today show Trump +1 (IBD), Trump +2 (Rasmussen) and Trump +1 (LA Times). All three of them can’t be outliers. The Fox poll that showed Clinton +7 and the WSJ/NBC poll that showed Clinton +11, beside being older polls, overrepresented Democrats: Fox polled 43% D, 36% R and 21% neither, whereas NBC polled 44% D, 37% R, and 19% neither.

      2. Since the debate last night

        HOLY SHIT! You’re right, it IS the coverage over one night people are taking issue with!

        One single day of behavior is totally the cause of all these comments.

        1. My point is it’s an odd time to say “they’re not writing Hillary articles” when they literally just published two hours ago.

          Reason’s consistently written a bunch of articles critical of both candidates. I think a lot of the Trump articles have been clickbaity, but from a business POV I don’t blame them when those articles routinely get 500 comments and serious, in-depth articles about any topic often get less than 100. And the people who are loudest about how Reason should write more about Clinton are often the first ones to post a dozen comments in every Trump article. I don’t think the outlet has to write the exact same number of articles about either candidate in order to not be in the tank for one of them.

          1. “My point is it’s an odd time to say “they’re not writing Hillary articles” when they literally just published two hours ago.”

            And MY point is that you’re an idiot who is arbitrarily selects a timeframe that matches your point.

            YOUR point is fucking stupid.

            1. “Talking about things now that have been happening for a while makes no sense because I decided so!!! ”

              / your stupid fucking obviously partisan, fooling no one that you’re a Democrat voting for Hillary “point”

              1. Aww yes, the “anyone who disagrees with my opinion that Reason is in the tank for Hillary is clearly a secret Democrat” argument. Such an intellectually rigorous line of reasoning.

              2. / your stupid fucking obviously partisan, fooling no one that you’re a Democrat voting for Hillary “point”

                Dude, wipe the spittle off your screen after you type that.

            2. How is that an arbitrary timeframe? If someone says “looks like Reason isn’t wasting time with Hillary articles” how is it arbitrary to point to two Hillary articles published hours before, along with several articles about both Clinton and Trump? You don’t seem to have much room to call people stupid.

        2. Yeah, three versus two has been the typical ratio for months.

          1. One of the Trump articles was about him not having a basis for suing the media for libel. The Clinton articles were much more substantive than that one, and the Suderman one as well for that matter. I don’t think the number of articles is the most important factor here.

    3. At 6 to 1 odds anyone who pretends to believe The Don will win needs to put $100 where da sukkah iz. If they turn out to not be fools, each will get back that $100 plus six extra-crisp C-notes to pour into antiabortion lobby campaigns.

  10. So he’s like 99% of all those in government? Including congress ,Obama,the Bush’s and the Clinton’s? What the fuck is the problem?

    1. Um… that is the problem.

      1. +1 Libertarian case for…

        *fumbles through cue cards*

        …I got nothin.

        1. *whispers to Paul*

          Past, it’s Libertarian Moment.

  11. “”””Trump has trashed the principles of due process and equal protection by advocating government mistreatment of religious minorities, including his call to ban Muslims from entering the United States.”””

    Muslims are the largest religion in the world, so they are not a minority

    We ban communists from entering the US, why not Muslims?

    1. Not Religious minorities, he means religious Minorities. Arabs are still a minority.

    2. Because reasons. And claiming that people who are not in the US or under the jurisdiction of the US are entitled to 14th amendment protections regarding entry is pretty ridiculous. By that standard the government couldn’t set any terms for entry to the US, even though the constitution gives it that power. Root makes some reasonable points, and then goes full derp.

    3. We don’t actually ban communists from entering the country.

        1. If libertarians really want to use that to justify it, note that the government must then have the power to outlaw political parties.

          The law has never been enforced, and it’s never been ruled constitutional by a federal court (and a district court did rule it unconstitutional in the 70s).

          1. None of which really has anything to do with my response, we do (at least have attempted to, with legislation that is still on the books) ban communists.

            The dubious constitutionality of the statute aside, his point was factually incorrect.

            1. I think it’s more important to look at how things are actually run. There are a lot of crazy laws on the books that don’t get enforced.

              Also, I think in this instance there’s a relevant distinction here – it wasn’t illegal to be a communist, you couldn’t be a member of the Communist party. Not justified either way IMO, but they didn’t straight up ban people who had communist beliefs even if they had no involvement with communist organizations.

              1. I think it’s more important to look at how things are actually run. There are a lot of crazy laws on the books that don’t get enforced.

                +1 gaysex

    4. We ban communists from entering the US, why not Muslims?

      We ban drugs, so why not alcohol?

  12. What’s unconstitutional about Clinton’s agenda? Here are a few examples:

    Clinton has trashed the First Amendment by calling for internet censorship, and forbidding anyone saying anything bad about a candidate ‘near an election’.
    Clinton has trashed both the Second Amendment and the Fourth Amendment by calling for a nationwide “War on Drugs” scheme designed to “put the super-predators away.”
    Clinton has trashed the Fifth Amendment by endorsing an effectively unlimited government power to seize private property in the name of national security and ‘health care’. (Clinton also tried to personally profit from these forms of government abuse.)
    Clinton has trashed the Eighth Amendment by ordering U.S. troops to commit torture and other war crimes.
    Clinton has trashed the 14th Amendment by saying she would give U.S. citizenship to certain citizens just because those citizens were born to non-citizen parents.
    Clinton has trashed the principles of due process and equal protection by advocating disparate treatment of government employees – especially political appointees, including the Law enforcement Bill of Rights and the lenient treatment she and Lerner received while under investigation for their own misconduct.
    Clinton has trashed the doctrine of limited and enumerated executive powers by praising Barack Obama’s notorious non-wartime executions of Americans without trial.

    1. In short, Clinton’s agenda bears little resemblance to “the Constitution the way it was meant to be.”

      So, Root – who do we vote for? Reason has certainly made the case for why Trump will be a horrible President and shouldn’t be elected.

      When are you going to make a case *for* a candidate? Which one do you guys endorse? Obviously not Trump. Johnson? You don’t seem to be *for* Johnson so much as *against* Trump. Are you seriously going to tell us that Clinton – little miss ‘W Bush’s 5th term’ is the best candidate? That you’re cool with the status quo – ever increasing pressure from government regulation making all life ‘legible’ so that regulators can regulate more efficiently no matter how hellish things get?

      1. Perhaps all the wars Hillary will start would give them plenty to spill ink over.

      2. When are you going to make a case *for* a candidate?

        Nobody actually votes for a candidate. You vote against the one you perceive to be worse.

      3. It’s a good question, given that Root’s not on this list anywhere I can see:

        https://reason.com/archives/201…..-our-votes

      4. Did Hillary make any claim to be a Constitutional originalist? I don’t see how pointing out Trump’s hypocrisy is an endorsement of Clinton or saying that she has a constitutional agenda. There’s an article pointing out Clinton’s hypocrisy on the second amendment, which is a good example of her hypocrisy on the Constitution. But there’s no point arguing against her from a constitutional originalist POV because she makes no claim to be so.

        Also, have you missed the million articles over the last few months that have been explicitly for Johnson, and making the case for him?

        1. 1. Fair ‘nough. But leaving out that the rival candidate doesn’t even pretend to give lip service to ‘originalism’ leaves one with the impression that Trump is the horrible one here and Clinton is serviceable.

          2. I’ve seen lot’s of little video clips of Johnson saying stuff. Very little analysis of his positions or actions (except when he screws up) – though to be fair they’re not hitting him on his jeans and sport-coat look which may fly in Albuquerque but doesn’t on the national stage. A couple of ‘Trump and Clinton are bad but you have options’ articles but most of this, and certainly the articles that get the largest amount of front page real-estate, are ‘Trump is horrible for this or that reason’ – about 3:1 to the ‘Clinton is horrible for this or that reason but she’s better than Trump’ articles.

          1. “But leaving out that the rival candidate doesn’t even pretend to give lip service to ‘originalism’ leaves one with the impression that Trump is the horrible one here and Clinton is serviceable”

            I don’t agree with that. Does the article about Clinton’s second amendment hypocrisy imply that Trump is good on the 2nd Amendment? Does the article about Clinton’s position on Syria imply Trump has a good position on Syria?

            There was an article about Johnson’s foreign policy just yesterday. I really don’t see how anyone could read this site and not see that the magazine is clearly pro-Johnson as well as anti-Trump and anti-Clinton.

              1. Facks are for cucks

      5. Nick’s on the Johnson beat.

        1. When you say it, I get a tingling like when I used to climb the rope in gym class.

  13. I cant disagree with anything in the article aside from the one quip about censorship. That isnt exactly correct.

    Everything else seems on target yet Trump would be successful with none of it. He would be slapped down on every bit of that.

    Enjoy your president clinton Root.

    1. I wonder if a few Reason contributors specifically avoided answering the “Who Will Get Our Votes?” poll in order to skew the list towards Johnson and make it seem less clear that there are more than a couple Clinton supporters in the staff.

  14. Fuckin’ A, I can’t wait for this shit to be over with.

  15. But why should voters trust Trump to appoint constitutionally sound judges when so much of Trump’s own agenda is so manifestly unconstitutional?

    This is why appointing strict constructionists is important for Trump.

    They’ll keep him (or any other idiot we the people elect) in check. If the last… well, forever.. is any guide, whomever we elect, of whatever political stripe and whatever temperament, they will stretch the bounds of the constitution in ways that would have been unthinkable 3 or 4 terms prior.

    1. Does Trump strike you as the kind of person who’d take on people who’d get in the way of what he wants to do?

      1. Trump strikes me as the kind of person who would appoint originalists because he thinks they would actually go along with what he wants to do. That they might not likely wouldn’t occur to him, not being much of a constitutional scholar.

        1. This is probably true.

          He seems profoundly unaware of his limitations, and profoundly disturbed when his limitations run in to reality. If you disagree with him, even a little, he will turn on you like a pit-bull on a 2 year old.

          But appointments are for life. So all he can do is whine about it when his appointments actually do their jobs instead of kowtowing to him.

        2. There is that,but I don’t think Trump’s capable of that level of stupidity.

          1. I don’t think it’s stupidity, it’s just the usual ignorance most people have regarding the constitution. They think whatever they really hate is prohibited by the constitution and whatever they really like is guaranteed by the constitution. Most don’t bother to read the actual words and consider the meaning of those words at the time they were written.

    2. It’s the GO-Pee-in-a-Dixie-Cup platform, and nobody mentions the only good plank in it: “any value added tax or national sales tax must be tied to the simultaneous repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment, which established the federal income tax.”
      A libertarian magazine, of even a fiscal conservative commentariat would surely notice that sort of plank, no?
      Indeed, the protective tariffs that led first to the Nullification Crisis and later sparked the Civil War are value added “ad valorem” taxes on merchandise.

  16. Lol. Hillary voted for McCainFeingold. She’s a proven threat to constitutionality.

  17. All of those things are in the God’s Own Prohibitionist Platform, including also “The Court twisted the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment beyond recognition.” and “We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth.” God’s Own Prohibitionists know by Revelation that the Fourteenth really means: “All Ova fertilized,” not “All Persons born”. Trump is just reading his lines.

  18. It is great that Reason is calling out the constitutuonal horridness of the candidate most likely to win the Presidency.

  19. Although you accurately point out some of Trump’s unconstitutional positions, you irrationally ignore the following:
    1) Trump has already providing a list of potential Supreme Court nominees
    2) Clinton supports even more unconstitutional positions and would appoint activist judges
    3) The Founding Fathers believed in America first, and would have been horrified to sacrifice American interests for the sake of a global economic and foreign policy agenda dictated to us by the UN, the IMF, the EU, global warming treaties, international trade agreements, and the Fed.

  20. “The Constitution the way it was meant to be” says that Donald J. Trump, the greatest genius of all time, always gets his way because he deserves to. Why do so many people persist in pretending not to understand that?

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