"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."