constitutionLadies and Gentlemen of the internet, I appear before you on behalf of my client the United States Constitution.  This is my closing argument before the Constitution faces the possibility of irreparable damage on November 8, 2016.  Of course, I have not been asked by the Constitution to argue this case, but I have been given written permission by its First Amendment.

As a lawyer, I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.  That is what I do here.

This case is about whether my client will live or die.  My client has existed and flourished for over two hundred years, but if Defendant Donald John Trump prevails on Tuesday, then my client will cease to exist in its present form.  This is not a gross exaggeration.  The evidence will show the Defendant poses the most dire threat to the Constitution’s power and authority since the cases of Marbury vs. Madison, Dred Scott, and Plessy vs. Ferguson.

This is a Complaint against Presidential Candidate Donald J. Trump.  All of the Counts in this Complaint are based on the charge of assault.  Assault is defined in the law as intentionally putting another in reasonable apprehension of an imminent harmful or offensive contact.  Actual touching or harm is not necessary for a conviction of assault. The evidence will show Defendant Donald Trump will in fact batter and permanently damage the Constitution if he is elected.[1]

At the end of this closing argument, I will address whether or not two individuals who are not accused in this argument, Secretary Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama, should also have claims raised against them for their treatment or potential future treatment of the Constitution.  If you would like to read that section first, you can skip to it here.

Now, let’s turn to the Complaint against Defendant Trump.  This Complaint is based on the power created for me by my computer keyboard and the internet.  I will lay out the case.  You be the judge.

Count I:  Assault on the First Amendment’s Guarantees of Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, and Freedom of Religion

There are no more sacred and important freedoms in our country than those guaranteed by the First Amendment.  And there is no candidate in our lifetime, who has made campaign promises or who has taken actions in his campaign that threaten to damage these freedoms as much as Defendant Trump.

Trump says he wants to increase the ability of people like him to sue people who criticize them/him by making it easier to sue for libel.  This is frightening.  Imagine if President Barack Obama could sue every person who criticized him with questionable claims about his birth, citizenship, actions in Benghazi, or Obamacare.  Former vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin argued that Obamacare had death panels.  Most fact checkers found this claim false, but she probably believed it and many others did as well.  This was her right to make these critiques even if they stretched the truth.  If Trump wins the Presidency, critics must have an equal right to express their opinions.

Trump has targeted the press like no other candidate ever has.  He has banned members of the media, including Politico and the Washington Post, from attending his events.  He regularly threatens to sue reporters for libel and he taunts the media at his rallies.  It is more than likely that Trump would continue his practices of excluding the media from the White House (the people’s house) if he becomes President.  If these actions were to be combined with broader libel laws or censorship, which he may implement when the country experiences a security crisis, then the freedom of the press could be jeopardized more than at any time since President Lincoln suppressed the press during the Civil War.

Defendant Trump encouraged violence against the protests of people who disagree with him at his rallies.  In March, Trump said he would pay for the legal fees of a supporter who punched an African American protester at one of his rallies.  Just this Saturday night, a man was attacked by supporters of Trump for raising a sign that said Republicans against Trump.

Maybe the most blatant assault on the First Amendment came when Trump called for a complete ban on an entire religious group from entering the United States.  Trump’s call for a Muslim ban, which he has since lessened by saying he would only ban people from certain parts of the world, would be an unprecedented violation of the First Amendment.  Throughout our history, this country has welcomed Puritans, Pilgrims, Catholics, Jews, Christians, and Muslims who were persecuted for their religion in their homelands.  We are different from countries where Shea and Sunni are persecuted and jailed for their religion.  We are different from countries that massacred Jews, Christians, and Muslims for their faiths.  Other countries have evolved and guaranteed the civil rights of religious minorities because of the powerful example of our First Amendment.  Any threat to our freedom of religion is completely unacceptable and un-American.

Count II:  Assault on the Separation of Powers

Defendant Trump, if elected, would ignore and violate the Separation Powers as laid out in the Constitution.  The Constitution divides the United States Government into three separate and equal branches of government laid out in the first three Articles of the Constitution.  The country was founded on a rejection of monarchy and the importance of balancing power between the federal government and the states, between minority views and majority rule, between the judicial, legislative and executive branches, between the large states and the small states, and between the rights of the citizens and the power of the state.

Donald Trump had repeatedly lavished praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin.  In particular, Trump praised Putin for “having very strong control over his country.”   Trump was confronted about the fact that Putin killed political opponents and journalists and invaded other countries without provocation.  He responded that Putin’s “running his country, and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country.”  Trump has had similar praise for the way Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein used his power to kill terrorists.  Trump’s praise for dictators is deeply alarming because, while these leaders get things done, they do it by squashing dissent and ignoring the balancing levers of power of the courts and legislative branches of their governments.  This is not the American way.

Anyone who has watched Donald Trump at his rallies or in interviews has seen that Trump’s words are not just rhetoric.  He cares only about himself and repeatedly ignores the advice of anyone who disagrees with him.  In fact, when asked who he relies on for foreign policy advice, he said that he mostly relies on himself because he has a very smart brain.  He has also claimed that he knew more about ISIS than the generals who run the military.

Authoritarianism is how Trump has run his companies (mostly into the ground).  And this is how he would try to run the United States.

Trump’s lack of respect for the Separation of Powers was seen most evidently when he attacked repeatedly a federal judge who was handling a lawsuit related to fraud claims at Trump University.  Trump attacked the judge for not being fair because he had Mexican ancestry.  This was a racist assault on the credibility of our justice system.  If Trump was a lawyer and had made this claim, he would likely have been sanctioned.  It is one thing to question the results of court decisions, but it would be destabilizing for a President to question the authority of courts to make decisions.[2]   This is what Governor George Wallace did when he refused to implement desegregation.  Imagine if Wallace had the power of the Presidency behind him when the Courts issued a controversial decision.

Count III:  Assault on the Article I Commander in Chief Responsibilities

The most important responsibility of the President is being Commander in Chief as laid out in Article I of the Constitution.  We give the President the enormous and lethal power of launching nuclear weapons against another country at any time on command.  Famously, former Congressman Joe Scarborough stated that Trump asked a foreign policy adviser three times, if we have nuclear weapons, why don’t we use them.  (The answer of course is mutually assured destruction and the morality of not killing innocent people).

Trump is proud of his talent at counter punching.  He says he doesn’t usually attack first, but he comes back at his opponents with powerful counter attacks.  He is impulsive and likes picking fights.  One just has to look at his twitter account to see how many fights Trump picks on a daily basis.  It is deeply disturbing to think what will happen if President Trump enters into a fight with a foreign leader, like Vladimir Putin, who refuses to back down.

Count IV:  Assault on the Article I Responsibility of the President to Faithfully Execute the Laws of the United States

When the United States enters into treaties, it becomes the law of the land.  Trump has declared that he will not follow many of the treaties entered into by our country including NATO, NAFTA, and the Geneva Convention.  While many disagree with NAFTA, most Americans strongly support NATO and the Geneva Convention.  Regardless, President Trump would have the responsibility to carry out these treaties not to breach them.

Count V:  Assault on the Prohibition of Questioning the United States Debt in the Fourteenth Amendment

Trump stated that everything will be negotiable if he becomes President.  This includes, he said, negotiating our national debt.  This means that Trump is stating he might refuse to pay the debt like he did repeatedly with his companies through his corporate bankruptcies.  With the United States debt, this would be playing with fire – and not just a little fire – a nuclear fire.  Our economy is built upon the belief by people in our country and throughout the world that the United States will pay its debts.  If it doesn’t, then the world would go into a massive depression.  But not only that, Trump would by doing so violate the Fourteenth Amendment if as President, he questioned the national debt.

Count VI:  Assault on Fifteenth Amendment Guarantee of Right to Vote Shall Not Be Abridged Based on Color

Trump has repeatedly called for people to monitor voters in Pennsylvania.  While his message is coded, there is little question what he is requesting.  These are actions that hearken back to voter suppression in the 1950s and 60s in the South.  It is a violation of the Fifteenth Amendment’s Guarantee that the right to vote shall not be abridged based on color.

Count VII:  Assault on Right to Trial After Indictment Guaranteed by Fifth Amendment and Right to Trial by Jury of the Sixth Amendment

Trump has said that if he is elected, then his political opponent Hillary Clinton will go to jail.  This is what Vladimir Putin or Saddam Hussein would do.  Whether or not Hillary Clinton should be (or should have been) indicted for having a private server when she was Secretary of State, it is completely irresponsible and un-American for a Presidential candidate to imply that he would circumvent the Fifth and Sixth Amendments by jailing his opponent without indictment and a trial by jury.

For all the reasons laid out in the seven Counts above, Defendant Trump is a unique and lethal potential threat to the Constitution of the United States.  He must not be elected.  Our democracy and its founding document are too important.



Post Script:  Allegations Against Secretary Clinton and President Obama

Finally, as promised, let me turn to whether or not President Obama or Secretary Clinton also pose threats to the Constitution.  Some may argue that Hillary Clinton will damage the Constitution’s Second Amendment.  Defendant Trump states that if Clinton is elected, she would abolish the Second Amendment.  The evidence simply does not exist for this charge.  Others have argued that Clinton would appoint Justices to the United States Supreme Court that would diminish gun rights as allowed in the Court’s Heller decision.  This might happen, but that would not be an injury to my client.  It is precisely the role of Justices on the Court to interpret and decide how the Constitution’s provisions are to be interpreted.

Defendant Trump also states that Clinton’s election would create an unprecedented Constitutional crisis because she should have been indicted (and he argues may still be later) due to her email server which contained classified evidence.  While many Trump supporters disagree, FBI Director Comey and most federal prosecutors who have looked at the evidence have found that no reasonable prosecutor would indict Clinton.  That is not to say her actions were not deeply troubling, just that they do not appear criminal and will not have any significant impact on the Constitution.

Many have also accused President Barack Obama of damaging the Constitution by issuing executive orders, particularly his order to immigration officers not to enforce immigration laws for individuals who were brought up as children in this country without legal status.  While I personally believe it is moral and right not to deport people who have lived in this country since they were children, it is a fact that significant questions exist as to whether Obama’s Executive Order violated the President’s duty to faithfully execute the laws.  However, this issue is only marginally relevant to the election because the President is not on the ballot.



[1] These allegations are, of course, not based on criminal or tort law since  no actual violence is alleged.  Instead, these allegations are based on the fact that Defendant has repeatedly expressed through his words and actions his intent to violate my client over and over again.

[2] President Obama arguably broke tradition by questioning a Supreme Court decision by the Justices of the Supreme Court who were sitting in front of him during a State of the Union.

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