Don’t Put Trump in Jail
Don’t Put Trump in Jail

I think Trump is guilty of many things, some of which may be felonies, but I don’t support putting a former (and perhaps future) President in jail.  I don’t think that the courts should overrule the American people.  If the American people want Trump to be their President, the courts should not stand in his way. 

I am already concerned about the overreach of the court system.  The court should be able to review the constitutionality of laws, per Marbury v. Madison.  Recently, however, many Federal district courts have issued judgements blocking the application of new legislation to people all over the United States.  There is so much forum shopping that litigants on either side of an issue can find a judge who supports their view.  His decision then becomes law for the entire country unless a higher court overrules it.  It has led to a strong politicalization of the judicial system. 

I don’t think Trump should be President, but I do think that the legal attacks on him in various geographical jurisdictions and by federal and state courts are not the proper way to keep him from being elected.  Even if Trump exaggerates the political motivations behind the prosecutions, there is an appearance that it exists.  Trump supporters can claim with justification that there is some political motivation behind them. 

This perception of using the courts for political purposes, rather than to do “justice,” undermines the political process.  Confederate President Jefferson Davis was held prisoner after the Civil War, but he was never tried and convicted of any offense.  He never held public office after the war.  Presumably he was barred from doing so by the Fourteenth Amendment, but there was never a court trial to determine whether he was or was not. 

Is Trump a worse traitor than Jefferson Davis?  I don’t think so.  I don’t think this is a matter for the courts.  It is a matter for the American people.  I am not confident that the American people will make the right decision, but it is their right to make that decision.  Interposing the courts only increases the impression that the election is being controlled by wealthy elites, which is exactly what Trump has been arguing since the last election.   Ironically, I see the Democrats as undermining American democracy while claiming that they are preserving it by keeping Trump off the ballot. 

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