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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/6/18

There Is No 'Get Out of Jail Free' Card for the President

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Someone needs to alert Donald Trump: there is no "Get Out of Jail Free" card just for being president.

According to Trump's Twitter feed, he believes that he has an absolute right to pardon himself of any crimes for which he might be charged while serving in office.

He's not alone in this imperial belief.

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Two of Trump's lawyers have attempted to float the idea that "the president's powers are so broad as to make it impossible for him to have obstructed justice."

Rudy Giuliani, another of Trump's enablers, insists that Trump could even get away with shooting the FBI director in the Oval Office and not be prosecuted for murder. "In no case can he be subpoenaed or indicted," Giuliani argued, claiming a president's constitutional powers are that broad.

It's a losing argument.

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Back in 1974, four days before Richard Nixon resigned, the Department of Justice concluded, "Under the fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case, the president cannot pardon himself."

To suggest otherwise, to empower the President to establish his own rules, not bound by the legislative or judicial branches of the government, is to place him "above the law."

In operating above the law, the president thus becomes a law unto himself--a dictator, an imperial overlord, a king.

Yet the U.S. government--a constitutional republic--is predicated on the notion that the law is supreme, and that no one can flout it.

In other words, in America, the law is king.

When we refer to the "rule of law," that's constitutional shorthand for the idea that everyone is treated the same under the law, everyone is held equally accountable to abiding by the law, and no one is given a free pass based on their politics, their connections, their wealth, their status or any other bright line test used to confer special treatment on the elite.

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When the government and its agents no longer respect the rule of law--the Constitution--or believe that it applies to them, then the very contract on which this relationship is based becomes invalid.

Long before the DOJ issued its 1974 memorandum, which soundly refutes Trump's claims to legal immunity, America's founders issued their own proclamation--the Declaration of Independence--denouncing the tyrannical dictates of an imperial ruler.

Unfortunately, we've been backsliding ever since.

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John Whitehead Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

John W. Whitehead is an attorney and author who has written, debated and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law and human rights. Whitehead's aggressive, pioneering approach to civil liberties has earned him numerous accolades and (more...)
 

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