Prominent originalists oppose Trump, eviscerate the one possible argument for him

A group of well-respected constitutional originalists have signed this statement: Originalists Against Trump.  I cannot improve upon the statement.  But it is an important one.

The sole remaining argument in favor of a Trump victory is the argument that, as opposed to Hillary Clinton, he will appoint conservative constitutionalists to the Supreme Court.  That may or may not be true (I am skeptical, and my skepticism rises as I think about his potential appointees to the remainder of the federal judiciary).  But even if it is, it is inadequate.  There is no reason to believe that the Supreme Court is the focal point of American constitutionalism and the rule of law.  Rather, as the Originalists’ statement makes clear, the Court is one – but only one – component of a much deeper and richer American constitutionalism that also includes the President and the Congress.  The day-to-day governance of the Nation requires a President who cares about the answers to the constitutional questions that will confront him and his Administration regularly, questions that may never be litigated, much less reach the Supreme Court.  Even if he lacks ready answers, a president must be willing to learn what he needs to know in order to answer them – or at least reflect on them – properly.  Trump strikes me as not only ignorant about such questions, but also intolerably bored by the prospect of confronting them.  Presidents need not be legal scholars, but they ought to have an abiding respect for the constitutional structure and for constitutional rights.  If a President lacks respect for the Constitution, and fails to preserve, protect, and defend it in the daily exercise of his powers, then his promises about the Supreme Court matter very little.  We need a constitutionalist in the Oval Office as much as we need one on the Court.

Ilya Somin has a thoughtful post here at VC, linking to the Originalists Against Trump site and to another thoughtful post, this one by Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic.




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