The Corner

Politics & Policy

Dear ACLU: Trump Isn’t the Only Candidate Who Doesn’t Respect the Constitution

Give Donald Trump this: He’s single-handedly got the ACLU rushing to the defense of the Constitution. Last week, ACLU executive director Anthony D. Romero published: “Donald Trump: A One-Man Constitutional Crisis.” Now today appears “The Trump Memos,” a 27-page “constitutional analysis of the public statements and policy proposals of Donald Trump” that condemns, for example, Trump’s proposals to deport U.S. citizens or “open up libel laws.” 

Fair enough. Trump has pitched a great many ideas that don’t pass constitutional muster, and he should be called on them.

But one gets the impression that this may be a somewhat-less-than-objective “analysis.” E.g., here is why the ACLU opposes the overturning of Roe v. Wade: “Overturning Roe would undermine the legitimacy of the Supreme Court and damage the United States’ commitment to the rule of law.” First: No, it wouldn’t. Second: What does this have to do with Donald Trump?

Nothing, of course. It’s leftwing political advocacy posing as constitutionalism, which is the ACLU’s bag not infrequently. The ACLU loves the Fourth Amendment, and the Eighth, and most of the First (that pesky religious-freedom clause raises issues when applied to Catholics), because those serve particular political aims. But it has no time for, say, the Heller interpretation of the Second Amendment. The individual right to bear arms is a civil liberty that’s just not that important.

I’ve no particular inclination to bang on about the ACLU — in a contest between Trump and the ACLU, I’d usually just as well both lose — so here’s the point: Is anyone expecting the ACLU to also drop “The Clinton Memo”? Is the ACLU going to denounce her call to overturn Citizens United? Would overturning the decision “undermine the legitimacy of the Supreme Court and damage the United States’ commitment to the rule of law”? Somehow, I doubt it.

No, Trump doesn’t have much interest in abiding by the Constitution (any of its 12 articles). But neither does Hillary. If you’re genuinely devoted to protecting the Constitution, you can’t pick and choose your outrages.

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