by: James Weeks
Having magically regained their respect for that outdated document written by slave owners, and while still complaining about the Electoral College part of it, many on the left (and some [L]ibertarians) have now taken to attacking Trumps early actions as president as unconstitutional.
But the Constitution does not exist to validate your feelings. Just because you don’t like something doesn’t make it unconstitutional. Just because something is an executive order doesn’t make it unconstitutional either. The President has certain powers explicitly enumerated in the Constitution.
So in the interest of fairness let us actually go through Trump’s orders and gauge how each one matches the Constitutional authority of the President. As fast as things are moving this may not be a comprehensive list so feel free to suggest new ones in the comments below.
1. A hiring freeze on all federal workers? (Constitutional)
a. Federal workers are employees of the Executive branch, Trump could hire em, fire em, or stop hiring them as he sees fit. This is actually a rather good way of halting the growth of government while using Constitutional authority.
2. Withdrawing from TPP (Constitutional)
a. Congress must approve trade deals but the Executive is the one who negotiates them. Had Trump approved TPP by himself this would be a violation but withdrawing from it is perfectly legal.
3. Mexico City Policy regarding abortion funds overseas (Constitutional)
a. You may have thought it odd that Trump, a pro-life president, was focusing on foreign abortions instead of the millions done at home. Ironically this order was given because Trump was trying to stay in the lines of Executive authority while still doing something immediate on abortion. Without even touching the subject of Roe v. Wade it is clear any restriction on domestic abortion will require the legislature to pass a new law.
4. Repealing the individual mandate from Obamacare (Unconstitutional)
a. You were starting to think this was just a list giving Trump a free pass on anything didn’t you? Yes unfortunately perhaps his most popular order is also his worst one in terms of legitimate authority. Obamacare is a law, good or bad, it was passed by congress and signed by the President at the time. So altering it in a significant way via executive order is a violation of the Constitution. Now if you’re a conservative hopefully the law as a whole will be repealed and replaced soon. Maybe by Rand Paul’s replacement bill? God bless that man. But until it is the individual mandate must be enforced along with the rest of the law. Bad Trump. You are admonished!
5. Dakota access pipeline (Constitutional)
a. The pipeline was halted via a legitimate executive order in the Obama years. Undoing one executive order with another is clearly in the bounds of executive authority.
6. THE WALL (Constitutional, big, and beautiful)
a. The wall was actually authorized by existing legislation passed by congress. Until now Presidents have just been ignoring our immigration laws so moving forward on this one is not only constitutional but it undoes a flagrant violation that has been allowed to fester for far too long.
So far 5/6. Not perfect but hardly the tyrannical fascist regime described in facebook posts.
James Weeks is a political consultant specializing in campaign management and field organization.