Khizr Khan protesting Donald Trump’s disregard for the Constitution

Trump’s unConstitutional Policies: A Primer

A simple listing of Donald Trump’s unConstitutional policies and general casual disregard for our nation’s most highly esteemed document

“Trump’s personal constitution is deeply at odds with the restraints demanded by the U.S. Constitution.” — Corey Brettschneider in Politico

The purpose of this post is simply to provide a working list of all the policies and actions Donald Trump proposes, which are arguably unConstitutional and to briefly explain why.

  1. A religious test for entry to the United States (5th and 14th Amendments) — This began as a ban on Muslims but has evolved into more of an ideological test. Unconstitutional either way. If you think the U.S. Constitution shouldn’t apply to non-citizens, remember that Trump’s initial inclination was to disallow Muslims who are American citizens from returning to the country.
“Unless you suspend the Constitution and instruct the police to behave as if we live in North Korea, it ain’t happening.” — Michael Chertoff, secretary of Homeland Security under George W. Bush on Trump’s deportation plan

2. Mass deportation of 11 million people would almost certainly have to involve illegal search and seizure (4th Amendment)

3. Change libel laws so he can sue people (especially news organizations) who criticize him (or his wife) for publishing content which is factual and in the public record already (1st Amendment)

4. Extend the use of torture — and he embraced the term “torture,” it’s inarguable whether what he’s referring to qualifies or not. He also advocates killing the wives and children of terrorists, e.g. war crimes (Cruel, unusual and inhumane treatment, right to trial, 5th, 8th and 14th Amendments)

5. Track and surveil Muslims and their communities, whether citizens or not in the United States. Would undermine freedom of religion and freedom of expression. Even Ted Cruz found Trump’s suggestion of a national registry for Muslims unconscionable. (Equal protection, 1st Amendment)

6. Close some mosques. (Obvious 1st amendment violation — even if they were preaching “radical Islam)

7. Declaring a judge unfit and promising to “swamp” the court with “real judges” — Disregard for separation of powers, independent judicial system

8. Restrict freedom of the press — Immediately after the Chelsea explosion, Trump blames the press and magazines in particular for showing people how to make bombs. “We should arrest people that do that because they are participating in crime.” (1st Amendment)

9. Remove right to counsel and due process— Trump lamented that Ahmad Khan Rahami might as an American citizen likely benefit from a decent lawyer and a typical route through the courts. Trump also previously said U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism should be sent to Guantanamo Bay for trial, demonstrating zero understanding of these basic rights. (6th Amendment)

10. Take stop & frisk nationwide — Presiding over a town hall meeting on issues in the black community, Trump announced that he wants to bring stop and frisk to African-American communities across the United States. in However, in 2014, a New York judge already ruled stop and frisk tactics unConstitutional in a detailed 198-page ruling. Stop and frisk infringes on citizen’s right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and, given their dependency on racial discrimination, such searches are by definition violations of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause (4th Amendment, 14th Amendment)


I’m sure there’s more than this, but that’s a good start for what I suspect will be a growing list. But when you consider the scale and impact of even these 10 (so far) … that should be enough.

Feel free to suggest additions.

The ACLU also has detailed summary [PDF] of Trump’s casual disregard for our nation’s most revered document, though it’s already out of date as he continues to propose additional unConstitutional policies.

“You know — the Constitution — there’s nothing like it. But it doesn’t necessarily give us the right to commit suicide, as a country, OK?” — Donald Trump

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