Archive for the ‘constitution’ Category

‘Foreign Emoluments’? Look Here.

May 3, 2019

'Foreign Emoluments'? Look Here.

“The U.S. State Department allowed at least seven foreign governments to rent luxury condominiums in New York’s Trump World Tower in 2017 without approval from Congress, according to documents and people familiar with the leases, a potential violation of the U.S. Constitution’s emoluments clause.”

— “Foreign government leases at Trump World Tower stir more emoluments concerns,” Julia Harte, Reuters

Trump World Tower, built in 2001 and financed by Deutsche Bank, is located at 845 United Nations Plaza and has been the New York residence of several UN diplomats, so it’s not surprising that the governments of Iraq, Kuwait, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Thailand and the European Union would rent condominiums there. The problem: those leases were signed in 2017, while Donald Trump was President, and those agreements required the prior approval of Congress.

Who says? The U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8:

“No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.”

What did “emolument” mean to the Founders? “Profit,” “advantage,” “gain,” or “benefit.” U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan agrees.

Related:

“The Definition of ‘Emolument’ in English Language and Legal Dictionaries, 1523-1806,” John Mikhail, SSRN

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Can Trump Pardon Himself?

October 11, 2018

Can President Trump pardon himself? a Vox video by Danush Parvaneh.

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Trump: Yes, It Is a Muslim Ban

June 6, 2017

Trump: Yes, It's a Muslim Ban
President Donald J. Trump commemorated Saturday’s tragedy in London by tweeting a renewed call to ban travel to the US from six predominantly Muslim countries. A second version of his presidential order (he now calls it “watered-down“) is headed to the Supreme Court, and this presidential tweetstorm may have doomed the administration’s case. Even Kellyanne Conway’s husband thinks so.

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Trump’s Tax Disclosure: Never Mind!

January 23, 2017

Trump's Tax Disclosure: Never Mind!
Presidential candidate Donald Trump repeatedly claimed that he would release his tax documents. He said it well before he threw his hat in the GOP ring, back in 2014. As the Republican candidate he came up with a lame excuse for avoiding the tax disclosures made by White House hopefuls since 1970: He said he couldn’t do it since he was under audit, a specious argument, as himself finally admitted. He even claimed he would release his tax forms after the election, if the audit took that long.

Sunday morning, on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Trump spokescreature Kellyanne Conway admitted that it’s not going to happen, since voters already elected him without any tax facts. She say’s voters don’t care, but 74% of Americans — including half of Trump’s supporters — want him to release his tax forms.

Since inauguration Day, over 200,000 citizens have signed a We the People petition on the White House website asking the President to “immediately release Donald Trump’s full tax returns, with all information needed to verify emoluments clause compliance.” 100,000 signatures is enough to require an official response. It is doubtful that Ms. Conway’s raised middle finger meets that requirement.

What is Mr. Trump hiding? Perhaps:

— He hasn’t paid any taxes, as his previous state tax releases indicate

— He’s not as rich as he claims

— He hasn’t given as much to charity as he claims

— He has had previously undisclosed foreign business dealings, perhaps with Russia

Wikileaks, Trump’s best bud during the campaign, says it will release the new president’s tax returns for him if they can be obtained. “Trump’s breach of promise over the release of his tax returns is even more gratuitous than Clinton concealing her Goldman Sachs transcripts,” tweeted the organization.

UPDATES:

“Conway Backtracks On Trump’s Tax Returns, Saying He’s Still Under Audit,” Matt Shuham, TPM Livewire

“Mnuchin: Trump has ‘no intention’ of releasing tax returns,” Julie Bykowicz and Jill Colvin, Associated Press

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The Founding Fathers Never Saw an AR-15

June 16, 2016

The Founding Fathers Never Saw an AR-15
When the Bill of Rights was drafted, the 2nd Amendment was added to allow state governments to form armed militias. In 2008 Supreme Court justices raised on Western movies decided that the Constitution guarantees firearms to individual gunslingers, not just well-regulated militias.

The military firearms known to the Founding Fathers were single-shot, muzzle-loading muskets that could fire slow-moving lead balls 2 or 3 times a minute, at best, with accuracy up to about 60 yards. Even if the framers had conferred military gun ownership as an individual right, they could never have envisioned weapons that hold 30-round magazines and fire 45 aimed rounds a minute at 3,500 feet per second with 600 yard accuracy, like the rifles favored by America’s mass murders.

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You have the right to this birthday. Do you understand this birthday?

June 13, 2016

You have the right to this birthday. Do you understand this birthday?
On June 13, 1966, fifty years ago, the Supreme Court ruled in Miranda v. Arizona and established guidelines safeguarding the rights of suspects in criminal cases, embodied in the “Miranda Warning.”

More:

“The Miranda warning is born 50 years ago today,” National Constitution Center

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Martyr to the Cause of Intolerance

September 4, 2015

Martyr to the Cause of Intolerance
Rowan County Clerk Kimberly Jean Bailey Davis was led off by federal marshals, fingerprinted and photographed, and locked behind bars in the Carter County Detention Center in Grayson, Kentucky. Federal District Court Judge David L. Bunning found her in contempt for refusing his order to comply with the 14th Amendment and perform her sworn duty, issuing civil marriage licenses to same-sex couples. “Ms. Davis took an oath,” he said. “Oaths mean things.” She can get out when she agrees to provide equal protection under the law.

The judge chose not to fine Mrs. Davis, since her equally intolerant supporters would raise the money for her and she would feel no sense of compulsion to obey the law. Some Davis fans tried to set up a fundraising website for her, but GoFundMe’s policy forbids campaigns that aid any criminal defense. That doesn’t keep them from thinking of Kim Davis as the homophobe Rosa Parks, though.

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