The United States Constitution is not the sort of document that contains reiterations of the same “rule of law” for obvious reasons, mostly centering on the fact that there is not much room for interpretation of easy to understand “commands.” There is, however, one “command” that is referenced verbatim in separate Amendments to the Constitution because it is a foundational protection against tyranny – like many other aspects of the Constitution and the rule of law,
Trump revealed on Sunday, and doubled down on Monday, that he is no fan of the aforementioned Constitutional “clauses.” It is likely because they provide longstanding legal protections from tyranny as well as prevent an aspiring dictator like Trump from ruling like the various dictators, past and present, that he is so enamored with and desperate to emulate.
The Constitution’s Framers and Founding Fathers were well aware that without the concept of “due process of law” enshrined in the Constitution, and the nation’s consciousness, America would rapidly devolve into a dictatorship. Trump’s outrageous set of “tweets” decrying “due process of the law” for immigrants alleged to be guilty of a misdemeanor, “improper entry,” is the latest revelation that not only does he have no respect for the Constitution; his greatest aspiration is to rule as dictator according to his law.
If these were normal times, the head of the Executive Department “explicitly” advocating depriving people of their due-process rights would be grounds for congressional leaders to issue a sternly worded censure, if not articles of impeachment. Trump claims that anyone suspected of “improper entry,” a civil matter and a misdemeanor, is an “invader” and must immediately be deported without a civil trial or appearance before a judge – even if they are legally seeking asylum or are young children.
Trump said via his forum of choice for issuing domestic policy edicts and setting foreign policy:
“We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country. When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came. Our system is a mockery to good immigration policy and Law and Order. Most children come without parents.”
Setting aside Trump’s daily practice of attacking the nation’s laws, this is not the first time he has entertained the idea of suspending “due process” protections for the “kind” of people he and his supporters claim are “invading and infesting “ America. Remember, one of Trump’s fiercest supporters who was in the running to lead the Department of Homeland Security, David Clark, promoted the idea that Trump could just suspend the Constitution and imprison a million or so Muslim Americans indefinitely without due process of the law. Now Trump is proposing a similar idea as a means of dealing with those other Brown people he and his supporters claim are not allowed in their white America.
Due process is the cornerstone of any civilized society regardless of how stringent a nation’s law and order policies are. Without due process of law, the result is abject tyranny, not unlike the conditions in countries ruled by Trump’s favorite dictators. There is a good reason Trump praises tyrants renowned for extrajudicial killings and indefinite detentions; his greatest ambition is to rule as a dictator beholden to no law, no judicial system, and no legislative body.
The Founding Fathers took great care to protect America from tyranny with the Bill of Rights, particularly the Fifth Amendment. That protection was reiterated 75 years later when the States ratified the 14th Amendment. As “due process” is explained by Cornell Law School:
“These words [due process] have as their central promise an assurance that all levels of American government must operate within the law and provide fair procedures. The Constitution states only one command twice. The Fifth Amendmentsays to the federal government that no one shall be ‘deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.’ The Fourteenth Amendment uses the same eleven words, called the Due Process Clause, to describe a legal obligation of all states.” (author bold)
It is now glaringly apparent that to Trump the idea of a “legal obligation” to follow the laws of the land is anathema to his dream of ruling America as dictator. He has openly disparaged the nation’s founding document, the one he swore a “so help me god” oath to support, defend and uphold, and has regularly attacked the federal judiciaryfor ruling according to the Constitution and not the dictates of Führer Trump.
Trump is now asserting that in his America, and this is his America, the rule of law is a barrier he is not going to tolerate, especially if he is flagrantly attacking the concept of due process of law. As conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin noted in the Washington Post, Trump’s latest outrageous assertion about immigrants is “the language of totalitarianism, [and] rule without civil rights. It’s the language of racist regimes …. It is distinctly un-American.”
Of course it is “distinctly un-American.” What else can anyone expect from Trump? He has been the picture of “distinctly un-American” since before his poorly attended inauguration. Throughout the entire lurch toward Trump ruling as dictator, Republicans have been complicit in his attacks on Americans, people of color, America’s staunchest allies and the United States Constitution through their continued silence and fear of confronting the un-American fascist.
It is still a mystery why Republicans are terrified of a legitimate threat to America and continue supporting Trump’s assault on the nation. It leaves one to conclude that Republicans are as un-American as their fascist standard bearer or they would have already taken the necessary steps to remove what they know is a clear and present danger to the U.S. Constitution and America as a representative democracy.