The President is effectively above the law—let’s change this

 
Abel Dean
 
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Abel Dean
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03 March 2019 18:58
 

President Trump dives through loopholes in the Constitution, and this problem is largely unique to Trump because past presidents have respected the rule of law and the principle of divided government. Trump is merely the first to dive through the loopholes. He is setting precedents that subsequent presidents of any party will follow, unless the people say otherwise. The loopholes can be closed only by the command of the people. So let’s close them, starting as soon as possible. I suggest the following constitutional changes.

(1) Emergency declarations take effect immediately, but each emergency declaration must be approved by Congress within seven days, or else it is nullified, and the President may not veto the decision of Congress.
(2) Signing statements must mean nothing. This is an easy one. Signing statements are a problem not pioneered by Trump, but it is still a problem. It is where the president revises the bill he or she signs into law by writing “clarifications” along with his or her signature, and Congress has nothing to do with that signing statement.
(3) No recess appointments. This is another easy one. It is where the president appoints (instead of nominates) members of the courts or Cabinet while Congress is in recess.
(4) The President must not be allowed to impede any law enforcement investigation that he or she does not like. I don’t know how to go about amending the constitution to best make this happen. Require that any punishment or firings of law enforcement by the President must be approved by congress? Put law enforcement under the judicial branch? I don’t like those ideas. Give me your ideas.

This is not an exhaustive list. Any other ideas for the upcoming 28th Amendment?

 
Cheshire Cat
 
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Cheshire Cat
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03 March 2019 19:19
 

I’ll be the first to say the obvious:
Trump has the Senate Republicans in his pocket. Nothing will change because they will stonewall it.

They are this way because 30 to 40 percent of the American people belong to the Cult of Donald Trump. There is just about nothing that Trump could do that would ever get them to turn on him. The Republicans know this. They pander to his cult base because they need those people to stay in power, which is the most important thing to them — not the Constitution; not the survival of the Republic; not what is fair or just; not even what is legal. It is raw power that they serve.

 
 
Abel Dean
 
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Abel Dean
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03 March 2019 19:25
 

If the Senate Republicans stonewall, then the Democratic candidates for the Senate can use the platform to effectively toss those Republicans out.

 
nonverbal
 
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nonverbal
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04 March 2019 05:48
 
Cheshire Cat - 03 March 2019 07:19 PM

I’ll be the first to say the obvious:
Trump has the Senate Republicans in his pocket. Nothing will change because they will stonewall it.

They are this way because 30 to 40 percent of the American people belong to the Cult of Donald Trump. There is just about nothing that Trump could do that would ever get them to turn on him. The Republicans know this. They pander to his cult base because they need those people to stay in power, which is the most important thing to them — not the Constitution; not the survival of the Republic; not what is fair or just; not even what is legal. It is raw power that they serve.

And Trump & Co. can always uncover new loopholes. It’s a brief document, but the U.S. Constitution is wordy enough to contain unending possibilities for loophole invention by those who see things through a criminal’s eye.

 
 
Abel Dean
 
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Abel Dean
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04 March 2019 05:51
 

The struggle between the law and the criminals is an endless struggle. Allowing the criminals to win is no alternative.

 
nonverbal
 
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nonverbal
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04 March 2019 06:01
 

Once he’s no longer president, he might very well spend significant time in Federal lockup.

 
 
Abel Dean
 
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Abel Dean
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04 March 2019 06:03
 

Yes, he may. And there is a high chance he won’t see a day in prison. I think we need to change the constitution to prevent and deter such criminal activity and authoritarian abuses by presidents in the future. This is not just about Trump.

 
burt
 
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burt
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04 March 2019 07:57
 

Glad to see you’re branching out in topics. Some comments:
#1 seems reasonable, have to have general agreement that an emergency exists before declaring that one does. Could be some details involved though.
Don’t agree with #2 and #3, signing statements can simply indicate how a president intends to interpret a law that he (or she) is tasked with enforcing and recess appointments may sometimes be necessary. I think it’s best to leave these to the normal battles of political interests.
#4 is way too vague, again best left to political battles although congress could well pass a law that narrows the possibilities for presidential interference (even today, it’s considered a no - no).
Missing are two items that I’d consider very important:
a) Corporations are not persons and do not have the same rights as persons.
b) Reverse Citizens United, donations to political campaigns must be public and limited. If large individual donations are allowed, those providing large donations must provide public explanations of why they are supporting particular candidates or particular proposals. Donations from public corporations allowed only with consent from all shareholders, donations from labor unions allowed only with consent of a substantial majority of membership. (Note the difference, for corporations need consent from all shareholders because some shareholders have large stakes, others do not. This could well create problems though. As an alternative, each shareholder counts as one vote and a substantial majority is required.)

 
Abel Dean
 
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Abel Dean
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04 March 2019 08:23
 

When is a recess appointment necessary?

 
burt
 
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burt
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04 March 2019 08:48
 
Abel Dean - 04 March 2019 08:23 AM

When is a recess appointment necessary?

If a position needs to be filled asap. Just leaving the possibility open. With later confirmation.

 
Abel Dean
 
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Abel Dean
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04 March 2019 08:51
 

But no position needs to be filled like it is an emergency. There is always either a committee or a chain of command with someone at the top. Recess appointments have been used exclusively to dodge Congress.

 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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Antisocialdarwinist
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06 March 2019 08:59
 
Abel Dean - 03 March 2019 06:58 PM

Any other ideas for the upcoming 28th Amendment?

Require sixty votes to confirm supreme court nominees. This, however, could have two possible outcomes. Best case: presidents would nominate less-partisan candidates. Worst (most likely, in my opinion) case: no more nominees would ever be confirmed unless one party or the other held sixty seats in the senate.

I don’t think another amendment of the kind you’re suggesting is going to help. The root of the problem lies with our “winner take all” electoral system, which stifles competition among political parties. We’re stuck with the two that are responsible for getting us where we are today.

Then again, maybe our predicament is an inevitable part of late-stage democracy. What we’re seeing now is tantamount to parasites competing for the last drops of some giant, dying animal’s lifeblood. The donkey and elephant symbols should be replaced by a louse and a tick.

 
 
Skipshot
 
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Skipshot
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15 April 2019 00:23
 

The president is not above the law, but the only way for the president to be called before the law is through Congress.  If Congress does not want to impeach and prosecute the president, then the president is effectively immune from the law, according to the Constitution, which is the case currently.