What Trump Can Teach Us About Constitutional Law

For any #MAGA out there. You know who you are.

Trumpconlaw is another podcast hosted by Roman Mars of 99% Invisible fame. When the show first started, I started tweeting out my own version of promos for each episode. The series of them can be found under the tag TrumpConLaw on this blog. This post should appear as the header for that series of tweets. As a consequence of this, it will move forward in time as new episodes are released. Here is the introductory episode of the series.

Intro to What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law – 06.07.17

So we’re going to learn the constitution together. Because of Trump. Because I need something to hold onto, and the constitution is the liferaft that our forefathers gave us. And dammit, I’m going to learn how it works.

Roman Mars

Here is the tweet that started it all,

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On a tangential track (or set of tracks) I am slowly working my way through the 99% Invisible archive. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever make it all the way through, but hope springs eternal. 99% Invisible is undoubtedly one of the best designed websites in existence. All Roman Mars podcasts and the podcasts that are presented through his distribution group, Radiotopia, are among the few podcasts out there that are easily shareable; easily shareable because the link to the hosting website is actually referenced in the feed address for the podcast you are listening to. I remain baffled as to why more podcasts do not design their feeds to be easily accessible in this way. In any case, give some of these podcasts a listen. It will take your mind off of the impending doom looming over the US today.


TED2015 Roman Mars Why city flags may be the worst-designed thing you’ve never noticed

09/22/19. I added the link to the introduction episode, the inspirational tweet, and Roman’s quote from that episode. 04/13/20. Moved to March 19th subsequent to the last episode at the time. Moved to November 11th when I found I had been missing episodes all summer.

Lame Duck

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If you think #MAGA means anything other than Misguided Appallingly Gullible Americans, you are the person these tweets were written for.

47- Lame Duck
TrumpConLawLame Duck EP. 47 – 1.26.20

Donald Trump and every Republican lap dog for Trump is out and about trying to drum up a belief that the election was rigged in some fashion. They are actively working to undermine belief in cherished American institutions. Cherished institutions, like the democratic process itself. The very same process that confirms their authority as members of the legislature or governors of their own states. This cannot be allowed to continue, and the power to make it stop is in the hands of the members of the House of Representatives and the Senate that will be seated next January.

The thing that needs to happen is that any Senator or Representative that questions the validity of the vote should have their credentials from their state rejected until their states can verify that they did indeed win their seats. Recounts, voter checks, whatever it takes. However long that process takes. They cannot be seated until their questions about voter fraud are answered to their satisfaction and the satisfaction of their constituents.

…or these very same Senators and Congressmen can shut up about the results of the presidential race and retract all their statements undermining the validity of the vote.

Both the House and the Senate have the right to determine who they will accept as members of their governing bodies, and seating someone who thinks the whole process is a farce undermines their work. So those people should simply not be seated until their reservations about the system are answered or revealed to be false. Plain and simple.

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Counting Votes

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Counting Votes EP. 46 – 10.31.20
TrumpConLaw – Counting Votes EP. 46 – 10.31.20

Facebook – RBReich

…7 million more votes for Biden don’t matter. That is the crime here. I don’t have any condolences to the losers mourning Trump’s loss today because they crowed victory when three million more votes for Hillary didn’t mean that she won. The struggle over the next four years will be to make sure that Donald Trump is the LAST president to hold the office without ever earning the support of the majority of Americans. No other political task is as important as this one goal. Destroying minority rule in the United States FOREVER.

Amicus – The American Contest – OCT 24, 2020 (Heather Cox Richardson)

one of the things that that has happened at least three times in American history is we go from a period where there is a focus on equality and on rights. And when that happens, when people, ordinary people start to have political power, they do, in fact, guarantee that they retain more of the value that they produce. And they want they want what they have done. They don’t want what anybody else has done, but they actually want what they have produced. And when that happens, the people who have tended to be able to accumulate wealth into their own hands start to worry that they are going to lose that power.

slate.com

When Mitch McConnell says we can’t call out Caudito Trump’s tantrums for what they are, he is pretending that other leaders in US history acted as he did. That is simply not the case.

Both Al Gore and Hillary Clinton should have been president. That didn’t stop them from graciously conceding the races they were deemed to have lost by legal fiat. Contrast Al Gore’s performance with Donald Trump’s, as was done in the above referenced episode of What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law. Or you could just watch this video of Obama graciously explaining how Americans were just going to have to lie back and accept Donald Trump as president for four years.

Facebook (Obama’s announcement of coordination with the Trump Administration)

Ask any woman who is told that they have to “lie back and take it” about how well that suggestion goes over for them. If you survive the experience you will be able to appreciate the kind of hell that is waiting for Donald Trump and his Republicans as soon as they are no longer in power.

There are many out there who think that Trump is engaged in yet another con, when it comes to his shenanigans concerning the counting of votes, and on some level I imagine that Trump thinks this too. This doesn’t change the fact that he will do everything in his power to wreck the office that he will be kicked out of in January because he doesn’t care about anyone other than himself.

I don’t know if his destructiveness will lead him to try to call out the military to kill people directly. He is a pathological liar and a narcissist that could easily qualify as confinable by court ruling if he was brought before the court in a competency hearing. But he hasn’t shown himself to be capable of killing people on his direct order yet. One might actually say that he has tried to keep his hands clean so far, understanding that being seen to be a murderer would alienate the people who love him, no matter what he says about shooting someone on Fifth Avenue.

It is one thing to shoot someone that the crowd encourages you to shoot. It is another thing entirely to shoot someone that the crowd is sympathetic to. That would be a game changer in the true sense of the phrase.

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I would never have agreed to run a stand-up campaign against Donald Trump and his merry band of felons-in-waiting. This is the difference between me and Joe Biden. Me and the press. Me and the Democratic party. To my mind, there is nothing legitimate about Donald Trump or his presidency. There never has been anything legitimate about it. I would never have stooped to covering his Tweets or his press conferences. I would never have assigned a reporter to the White House. I would never have agreed to debate Donald Trump on stage.

I expected either or both of the candidates to sabotage the debates simply because the debates were going to be shitshows no matter what. Either Biden would mop the floor with a clueless Trump or Trump would be allowed to bully Biden. In any case, I wasn’t going to watch because I can’t stand to listen to Donald Trump utter three words consecutively.

…I said this all five years ago. Donald Trump should have been hauled off in handcuffs the first time he told someone to rough up a protester at one of his events. He should have been hauled into tax court in 1980 when it was clear he was cheating on his taxes. Had the law been enforced then, we wouldn’t be here now.

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Strangely, the evangelicals started abandoning Donald Trump after he contracted the coronavirus. I think I need to get one of them to explain to me why he can’t be god’s chosen one after he was diagnosed with the disease. I’ve also heard that the Qdrops are saying that he didn’t really catch it, it’s all part of the plan to surprise and start arresting those baby-eating sex fiends that run the Democratic party. I think they’ve all been mainlining whatever that is he puts on his face. That might explain everything.

(This trend reversed before the date of the election. I remain puzzled as to why it started and why it reversed. Looking forward to reading that research someday. -ed.)

It is most infuriating that so much of this Trump bullshit is still topical, and it is still topical because they are still doing the stupid stuff that failed to gain them victories in the midterms. There is landslide turnout across the country. Landslide turnout.

Now, you can ask, are Democrats the only ones that vote early? (many have asked that) and my response to that question is to ask a few questions of my own. Do you really think that this president is inspiring landslide turnout in favor of killing an additional four million Americans with COVID? Or do you think that this collapsed economy is the reason that people have turned out in record numbers in support of Donald Trump? Which is it?

…of course it is people who are dissatisfied who are voting. Stormtrumpers are defensive about voting for him in 2016, and fewer of them will be voting for him now. That is not the characterization of what most of us would think of as “winning.”

He can still cheat his way into a stalemate, and I expect that he will come very close to doing that. It won’t matter in the end. With no clear victory in the election, the military will simply hand the nuclear codes to the Speaker of the House (most likely Nancy Pelosi) on January 20, and we’ll just continue on from there. I’m good with that outcome too.

This is how Trump treats America. Trump doesn’t listen. Trump is a bully. Trump talks over the experts, the courts, congress, and every citizen. You’re looking right at it. How he treats Biden is how he treats YOU.

Stonekettle

TrumpConLaw 43-45

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TrumpConLawThe Trump SCOTUS Term EP. 43 – 07.31.20

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TrumpConLawThe Hatch Act and The Election EP. 44 – 08.28.20

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TrumpConLawSCOTUS without RBG EP. 45 – 09.25.20

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If you think #MAGA means anything other than Misguided Appallingly Gullible Americans, you are the person these tweets were written for.

Editor’s Note

The destruction of political, legal and constitutional norms that is the Trump presidency almost defies description. The SCOTUS has a right to be cowardly when faced with a president like Trump. Much like Andrew Jackson, Trump wouldn’t even acknowledge a ruling by the court because he wouldn’t understand what his willingness to defy the court would mean when the next president came along.

Trump’s willingness to defy the Hatch act, his outright intention to ignore it by destaffing the office and leaving it empty for his term. He knew exactly what he was planning to do in 2016 and he didn’t want anyone getting in his way with legal arguments that he wouldn’t accept.

As for the third episode, I wrote articles about RBG and Roe. Hell, I rewrote the article about Roe three times before I finally got it right.

The article about RBG is more personal.

Now that I’ve had time to reflect on what the loss of RBG meant, the thing I am left with is that the woman who had to have an abortion when we both were teenagers only had one immediate observation about the article,

How dare you call our President the Orange Hate-Monkey!

So I took out the reference, and started the process of genericising the references to Trump in all the other MAGA-tagged articles. If I want his supporters to read them, I can’t be turning them off by labeling a spade a spade. They’ll still be here needing educating long after Trump is gone.

When pressed she seemed completely unaffected by the death and didn’t think RBG did anything that warranted my being upset at about her dying. She has been trying to adopt an anti-abortion stance for at least a decade now, because she thinks that is the morally right thing to do. I don’t think she understands what that makes of her life now.

TrumpConLaw 40-42

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TrumpConLawJacobson and COVID EP. 40 – 04.24.20

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TrumpConLawThe Socially Distanced SCOTUS EP. 41 – 05.29.20

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TrumpConLawPolice, Race, and Federalism EP. 42 – 06.27.20

If you think #MAGA means anything other than Misguided Appallingly Gullible Americans, you are the person these tweets were written for.

Editor’s note.

There are several things that I should explain in this editor’s note. One thing that I should explain is that I have changed phones and carriers multiple times over the last year, and consequently some of my podcast feeds got lost. Trumpconlaw was one of those feeds. I had wondered why there hadn’t been new episodes of the podcast over the summer. Radiotopia could well have tried to deliver me new episodes and the reply would have been “new phone, who dis?”

The second thing I should explain is my complete dissatisfaction with the way WordPress is dealing with embeds these days. The new functionality is apparently intentional and not a bug. This conclusion leads me to believe that I have no alternative but to get rid of the Gutenberg/Jetpack add ons for WordPress and fly solo, because I want to be able to craft the HTML code to my liking on my blog. I’ll have to ponder what direction represents forward from here.

I have modified all the previous audio links for TrumpConLaw now. Modified all the audio links and updated the articles, and am finishing up the last of the Trump articles before moving on to new things. I’m doing what everyone should do as the new year approaches.

#39 Quarantine Powers

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If you think #MAGA means anything other than Misguided Appallingly Gullible Americans, you are the person these tweets were written for.

39- Quarantine Powers
TrumpConLawQuarantine Powers EP. 39 – 03.17.20

I’ve skipped several episodes in this podcast series. I’ve listened to them myself, but I haven’t felt the need to put them on the blog since the treas …er, impeachment trial of Donald John Trump began and then ended. The whole thing has sort of felt meaningless in the face of the treason of the American people by the members of the Senate.

I expected the traitors to act they way they did, but that doesn’t change the shock of what they did in reality do. For once in my life the thing I expected to happen, did happen. No one was more shocked by this than I was.

However, the quarantine subject is something that is probably bothering everyone right now, so I thought it warranted advertisement.

The episodes I missed on the blog (and on Twitter) were:

  • 38 – Prosecutorial DiscretionProsecutors recommended that Roger Stone, an associate of Donald Trump, be given a heavy penalty after being convicted of seven felony counts, including lying to authorities. But after intervention from Attorney General Barr, and tweets from the President, those recommendations were rescinded. What can his case tell us about presidential interference and prosecutorial discretion?
  • 37 – War Powers and Impeachment UpdateAfter Donald Trump ordered the killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, many wondered if the two countries were on the brink of a major conflict. This incident is only the latest in the long-standing fight between Congress and the President over who has the power to make war, and if an act of violence against another state can be legitimate without Congressional approval. This episode also includes an update on the Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump, which began earlier this week.
  • 36 – BriberyBribery is one of the three offenses listed in the Constitution as grounds for impeachment. Even though that is attempting to bribe Ukraine is the act that precipitated to Trump’s impeachment, it’s not explicitly listed in the articles of impeachment. Why is that?
  • 35 – Confrontation ClauseSince the beginning of the impeachment proceedings against the President, Donald Trump has insisted he has a right to confront “the whistleblower,” the anonymous member of the intelligence community who set the whole thing in motion. There is a Confrontation Clause in the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which says a defendant in a criminal case has the right to face their accuser. But does this clause apply to the impeachment hearing against a president in Congress?
  • 34 – Foreign AffairsDonald Trump says he should not be impeached as President, since there was ‘no quid pro quo’ on a phone call where he asked the Ukrainian president to investigate a political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. But does quid pro quo need to be explicitly stated to be a legal issue? And can private citizens like Rudy Giuliani represent America on foreign policy issues? (This article on the blog #MAGA – Quid Pro Quo or Quod Erat Demonstrandum? was partially inspired by listening to this episode)

All of them contained information that I didn’t know about constitutional law, but none of them made me jump up and say this episode will change everything. Well, the bribery episode almost got me tweeting. Almost. The rest of them made me shrug and say I don’t see how spreading this around changes anything. So I didn’t bother to post them. I reference them here simply to explain the gap between this post and the last Tweet I created for this podcast series.

#33 Obstruction

If you think #MAGA means anything other than Misguided Appallingly Gullible Americans, you are the person these tweets were written for.

Obstruction EP. 33 – 09.21.19
TrumpConLawObstruction EP. 33 – 09.21.19

#32 Contempt Power

If you think #MAGA means anything other than Misguided Appallingly Gullible Americans, you are the person these tweets were written for.

Contempt Power EP. 32 – 05.14.19
TrumpConLawContempt Power EP. 32 – 05.14.19

#31 Executive Privilege

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If you think #MAGA means anything other than Misguided Appallingly Gullible Americans, you are the person these tweets were written for.

Executive Privilege EP. 31 – 04.18.19
TrumpConLawExecutive Privilege EP. 31 – 04.18.19

#30 The 25th Amendment

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If you think #MAGA means anything other than Misguided Appallingly Gullible Americans, you are the person these tweets were written for.

The 25th Amendment EP. 30 – 12.31.18
TrumpConLawThe 25th Amendment EP. 30 – 12.31.18>