Two For Thought

Are Trump Orders Constitutional?

Same topic, different views

By Tim Baldwin

Trump has been keeping his campaign promises, to his credit, but are his actions constitutional?

Trump promised to ban Muslims from entering America. In that vein, Trump signed an executive order (EO) banning entrance of all people from Muslim-majority countries. Federal agents thus detained people, but some were lawful permanent residents of America. Lawsuits were filed immediately against the EO. Several federal judges granted temporary stays on deportation until the EO’s merits is determined. The president cannot deport people the federal government previously granted green cards and visas to without due process. What’s Trump doing?

Trump is also denying federal funds to states that won’t help him collect and deport undocumented immigrants or refuse to enforce federal immigration laws. This kind of unilateral coercive action against the states violates the 10th Amendment, Congress’ spending power and federal and state separation of powers. Trump cannot force states to enforce federal law or punish states for not doing so. What’s Trump doing?

Many conservatives tout themselves as respecters of the Constitution. They accuse liberals of violating the Constitution when they propose laws such as limiting gun ownership, expanding rights of homosexuals, etc. Are they holding Trump to this same standard?

Being principled means putting party and personal preferences aside and protecting the law and liberty’s tenets objectively. Let’s be principled.

By Joe Carbonari

Don’t kid yourself. We are in a fight to defend our values. Well, not all of us. There are those of us who feel that it’s all right to deny the rights of others in exchange for protecting our own. Our country is special because we are embarked on an experiment to test the roles of decency and inclusiveness in the march of governance and civilization. Unfortunately, decency is being redefined.

America was, and is, great because of how we act toward one another as citizens, and caretakers of the world – not because of what we have, but because of what we do. We attract the best that the world has to offer; embrace it, and make it our own. We are multi-colored, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-spiritual. Our sense of decency, responsibility and inclusiveness is our strength. We celebrate goodness and oppose evil. We lead. It makes us great.

Donald Trump flouts accepted norms. It is his modus operandi. He can be refreshing, amusing, and entertaining. He plays the strongman, the Godfather, a Park Avenue Putin. His approach is authoritarian.

In a dangerous world he is taking us down a dangerous path. He seems to delight in alienating those who he, and we, have to cooperate and live with. We need to temper his tantrums and mitigate his missteps. He is a bully negotiator, not a diplomatic genius. He is arrogant and mean-spirited. Just as we must control our own excesses we must control his. Our freedom and, ultimately, our security demand it.