Little Confidence in Trump from ConLaw Scholars

Dec. 13, 2016, 9:50 PM

President-elect Donald Trump doesn’t take the oath of office until Jan. 20, but several constitutional law

scholars are already questioning whether he’ll uphold it.

“Although we sincerely hope that you will take your constitutional oath seriously, so far you have offered little indication that you will,” 42 constitutional law scholars said in an open letter to Trump Dec. 13.

The letter cites hostility toward the press, anti-Muslim and anti-Mexican rhetoric, and unsubstantiated claims of election fraud as illustrations of their concerns.

It is a response to “extraordinary and disturbing conduct” by Trump during and after the election, Neil S. Siegel, a professor at Duke Law School, Durham, N.C., said during a Dec. 13 media call put on by the progressive group, the American Constitution Society.

The signatories are under no illusion that a person who can’t be bothered to sit through intelligence briefings will read a letter from law professors, Pamela S. Karlan, of Stanford Law School, Stanford, Calif., said during the call.

The letter is instead meant to sound the alarm and set a marker for those who are looking for a path of resistance, Siegel said. It calls upon conservatives to join progressives in “speaking law to power.”

The values highlighted in the letter are those shared by those on both sides of the ideological divide, Siegel said.

He noted a similar letter from conservative constitutional scholars, written before the Nov. 8 election, also questioned Trump’s commitment to protecting the Constitution.

“Trump’s long record of statements and conduct, in his campaign and in his business career, have shown him indifferent or hostile to the Constitution’s basic features — including a government of limited powers, an independent judiciary, religious liberty, freedom of speech, and due process of law,” the letter said.

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