On Donald Trump and the rule of law

So what happens is the judge, who happens to be, we believe Mexican, which is great. I think that is fine. You know what? I think the Mexicans are going to end up loving Donald Trump when I give all these jobs. I think they are going to love it. I think they are going to love me. . . .

.. No, this is called “authoritarianism.” It’s what Berlusconi sounded like, what Chávez sounded like and what Perón sounded like — for that matter, it’s what Sulla and Caesar and the others who helped destroy the world’s first great republic sounded like: I am bigger than the law, I AM THE LAW.

.. from a man being seriously considered to head one of the three branches of our government, it is a not-too-thinly-veiled attack on the notion of judicial independence and the rule of law. If the guy in charge of executing the laws thinks the system is “rigged” — against billionaires, I suppose he means — and a “total disgrace,” then . . . well, you can figure it out. Enforce the law against himself? Or against his pals? That’s for suckers.

.. if you are elected president and come back for your civil trial in November — it will be a disgraceful spectacle. Great for ratings, though — and that’s all that matters, right?

.. Our republic has survived some terrible presidents, with terrible ideas about how to run the country; but this is something different. We’ve never had a president who not only thinks the government will be a toy for him to play with and push people around — wow!! how wild is that!! — but who tells us, in advance, over and over again, that that is his game. If we vote him into office, I suppose we will deserve what comes.

.. Our form of government will not work if the executive branch does not respect the legitimacy of decisions made by the judicial branch, because our judicial branch is entirely without power to enforce its judgments without the assistance of the executive branch.  

.. While I don’t want to be accused of over-dramatization, it is not inappropriate to point out, on this day after Memorial Day, that many people actually gave their lives to defend this idea, and we dishonor them if we throw it away.

.. And it’s not like he is standing on some important point of constitutional principle; he’s speaking out of naked self-interest, complaining about a case in which he stands to lose many millions of dollars if the judgment goes against him.

.. It is far, far too easy to imagine President Trump on prime time TV tearing up any judgment against him with a big smile on his face: “Hey, Judge Curiel, you think I have to fork $22 million to defrauded customers?  Try and make me …”   After all, the system is rigged – and the judge, to make matters worse, is a Mexican**. President Trump is going to be pushing them around, remember? Not vice versa!

.. That a TV celebrity wants to be above the law and immune to its commands is no surprise; I suspect that lots of TV celebrities would like to act outside the law.But the president actually has the levers of the law in his/her hands.  And there is a name for a chief executive who believes he/she is above the law: tyrant.