In a time when football players take a knee and protestors burn flags, it is fashionable to declaim the constitution. The government it creates fosters impasse among its officials, the inclusion of the three-fifths compromise is a racist ink blot, its amendments allow for too many liberties regarding guns, and it does not secure freedom and equality for all—in its time or ours.
That being said, this document also contains the best means to achieve another talking point on the left, opposition to Trump. The founders created the Constitution to maintain personal liberty and curtail the rise of authoritarian rulers. If Trump is the fascist some believe him to be, then the Constitution, not Robert Mueller or marches, is the way to end his reign of terror. Here are three tools it gives them:
To many, Robert Mueller and the FBI are the heroes holding the wall—metaphorically and literally—until the next presidential election. However, written into the Constitution is a manner to impeach a president without the need of a Special Counsel. The House of Representatives and Senate, together a separate branch of government beyond the reach of executive oversight, have the power to investigate, try, and impeach a president for wrongdoing.
Conversely, the special counsel, a member of the executive branch, is under Trump’s purview and, having not been confirmed by the Senate, open to removal at any time for whatever reason. At most, Mueller could procure evidence that would instigate the congressional action aforementioned. With the election of a Democratic House, a congressional probe may well be on its way and the constitution will do its job, meaning Mueller may be out his.
While the right celebrates Trump for, perhaps above all else, his judicial nominations, he has scuffled with the courts. It took several remade executive orders before the courts allowed his ban on immigration from countries with active extremist groups. Just recently, the courts also blocked two more of Trump’s initiatives: the enforcement of revised Obamacare guidelines that would allow more employers to deny contraception in insurance coverage and the denial of asylum claims to anyone entering the US by means other than an airport.
With his history in the private sector shaping his executive approach, Trump may want nothing more than to take control and delegate. Unfortunately for him, the Supreme Court is there to ensure that he works only within his given powers. With several slaps on the wrist from the courts already, perhaps this lesson learned is why Trump has threatened to declare a statement of emergency to acquire wall funding for weeks but has yet to make a move; the courts can and should oppose him on that decision.
The government can stand in opposition to and check itself, but the greatest check upon executive power is the fact that our government is one which citizens create. A Democratic House, not the courts or a threat of impeachments, will now block any law Trump wants to pass. In other words, Congress itself will act in accordance with the constitution by the consent of people and their votes in opposition to its executive. Even more, come 2020, another presidential election will likely remove him from office and squash any threat of totalitarianism he supposedly poses.
I will wholly admit that this article is little more than a review of a high school civics course on checks and balances. That being said, in a time when Trump’s presidency is called a ‘constitutional crisis’ and his populist tendencies are compared to those of the Third Reich, one must remember that we are halfway through his presidency and no one has been disappeared.
The Constitution is greater than the people who it has allowed into office. The latest government shutdown, where Trump had to yield to the will of the people expressed in Democratic opposition, is a testament to that. The founders created a government with an understanding of human nature in possession of power, a government to preserve our rights, a government to oust authoritarian rulers, and, yes, a government to oppose Trump when necessary.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.