The Corner

White House

Trump’s Muddled Comments on Churches

CNN reports:

Trump said he was calling upon governors to “allow churches and places of worship to open right now.”

“If there’s any question, they’re going to have to call me, but they’re not going to be successful in that call,” Trump added.

“The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now, this weekend. If they don’t do it, I will override the governors,” he continued.

The president has, not atypically, hidden a legitimate issue under a pile of nonsense. State regulations on churches, especially those that treat them differently than other places, are vulnerable to constitutional challenges. The Department of Justice may, and in some cases should, put its weight on the side of churches that wish to reopen. If the courts side with it, the governors’ preferred policies will be overridden — by the Constitution rather than by Trump’s preferred policies. All of this stuff about the governors’ having to call him to get permission is made up, and there’s nothing he has the power to make happen this weekend. If the Constitution bars the governors’ policies, their gulling the president in a phone call isn’t going to insulate them from judicial review.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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