14th Amendment

Ilya Somin: Should Libertarians Support the Prosecutions of Trump?

"If anything is a reprehensible act for a high official in a democracy that deserves retribution, this is a good example," says professor Ilya Somin.


This is an audio version of The Reason Livestreamwhich takes place every Thursday at 1 p.m. Eastern on Reason's YouTube channel.

Reason's Zach Weissmueller and Liz Wolfe sat down for a live discussion about the political and social ramifications of the indictments of Donald Trump with George Mason University law professor Ilya Somin.

"Trump's attempt to overturn the 2020 election well deserves punishment from the standpoint of both retribution and deterrence," wrote Somin following the four-count indictment filed by Special Counsel Jack Smith in early August. "For the head of state in a democracy, there are few more serious crimes than using fraud to try to stay in power after losing an election."

Somin also says "some of the charges seem compelling" in the case against Trump in Fulton County, Georgia.

Critics of the indictments have pointed out the conspicuous timing of a scheduled trial date, accused Trump's prosecutors of trying to "criminalize speech," and suggested that the former president is being held to a double standard. Others worry the prosecution will inspire "ever more aggressive tit-for-tat investigations."

Sources referenced in this conversation:

"Retribution, Deterrence, and the Case for Prosecuting Trump for Conspiring to Overturn the 2020 Election," by Ilya Somin

"The Georgia Case Against Trump," by Ilya Somin

William Baude and Michael Stokes Paulsen on Trump's presidential eligibility and the 14th Amendment

"FBI resisted opening probe into Trump's role in Jan. 6 for more than a year," by Carol Leonnig and Aaron Davis

John Eastman's memo for how to challenge the 2020 election results

"Conservative Legal Luminaries Release Report Entitled 'Lost, Not Stolen: The Conservative Case that Trump Lost and Biden Won the 2020 Presidential Election,'" by Ilya Somin

"Section 3 Disqualifications for Democracy Preservation," by Ilya Somin

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