The Legal Case for Banning Donald Trump from the Presidency

If the Republican Party leadership had any morality or decency they would act to ban Donald Trump from the nomination. They have solid grounds to do so based on two issues. The incitement to violence, the hateful insults (Megyn Kelly should sue Trump; he just won’t let up about her; he’s obsessed), the ridiculous idea of building a wall on the border, tragic plans for massive deportations by the millions, and the banning of Muslims from entering the U.S. are all deplorable and egregious aspects of the Trump campaign. The banning of Muslims– using a religious test for entrance into the United States– is a discriminatory policy. Nevertheless, I believe the GOP– and the U.S. government more broadly– have several reasons to legitimately put an end to the Trump campaign. The U.S. House and Senate should take a vote to condemn Trump and bar him from gaining ballot access.  On what grounds do I make this case? Despite the regretful nature of the campaign and the inhumane policies that I have mentioned, the case against Trump having the right of ballot access is made on two points:

  1. Trump has stated numerous times that he wants to kill the family members of terrorists. This means that Donald Trump is in favor of executing little children, women, grandmothers, and babies– because of the act of another individual to whom they are related. This policy is plainly advocating murder of innocent people, and we must take Trump at his word. After initially stating his plans and saying the military would do as he told them to do, even if it were illegal, he later stated that he would seek to change the laws to allow him free rein to implement his policies. He is advocating using the U.S. military as well as federal, state, and local law enforcement to murder civilians.
  2. Trump has stated he supports waterboarding– which is torture, despite the rhetorical dancing of calling it “enhanced interrogation.” If an individual doubts this is torture, that person should ask to experience it. He will quickly change his mind. But Trump says he would go well beyond waterboarding. Currently, torture is illegal in the United States. Trump has stated that he wants to change those laws. This is grounds for nullifying his campaign. Beyond U.S. law, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the Geneva Conventions; the International Covenant on Economic , Social, and Cultural Rights; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the United Nations Convention Against Torture; and customary international law all prohibit the use of torture. It is true that the United States government has tortured in the past and it has tried to conceal such activities. Donald Trump is now proposing a legalization and expansion of torture, which, if acted upon, would be clear cut grounds for the international community to place sanctions on the United States as a gross and open violator of fundamental human rights.

I believe in democracy. However, I also believe in the fundamental and inherent rights of all people. It is one thing to have controversial policies, it is a whole different notion when those policies are a direct threat to the lives and well being of human beings. Just as there are limits to free speech– one cannot yell “fire” in a crowded theatre or threaten the life of the president– there are limits on democracy. Different social and economic philosophies should be debated and voted upon, but there is no room in a democracy for policies that fly directly in the face of domestic law, international law, basic morality, and human decency.

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