Trump and His Lawsuits

We are right to be concerned—though hardly surprised—that so many Republicans have signed on to Trump’s no-concession strategy.

Nothing lasts forever. And so, there will come a point when Madisonian democracy breaks down in the United States, to be replaced by some other political system. It is metaphysically possible that time will come in the year 2020. Maybe just a soupçon more than merely metaphysically possible.

The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker—and Donald Trump

But step back and draw a breath. The First Amendment enumerates, among other liberties, the right to petition government for the redress of grievances. The relevant case law holds that, within very broad limits, the Constitution affords all citizens the right to sue in court, even if the claim is less than a likely winner. (The right runs out when the claim is entirely frivolous. And, when your claim is utterly frivolous, the courts have a way of letting you know.)

The right to pursue iffy claims in court belongs to you and to me. It belongs to the butcher, to the baker, and to the candlestick maker. And it belongs to Donald Trump.

Now, we can exercise our legal rights, constitutional and otherwise, in ways that are immoral or imprudent or otherwise blameworthy. But all that said,  merely exercising your constitutional rights does not support the charge that you are seeking to overthrow the government.

A Fundamental Tactical Error by the Orange Man

If Dear Leader has some general, inchoate plan to bring the curtain down on Madisonian democracy—which he very probably does have—then filing a whole bunch of lawsuits is exactly the wrong move on his part.

That’s because he has no evidence of any wrongdoing remotely sufficient to change the race. And because, having no such evidence, his lawyers will be booted out of court, and will be lucky if they escape serious disciplinary action by the state bars of this land. And because, with his cases booted out of court, Dear Leader will lack any remotely plausible argument for retaining power.

He will, in other words, have shot his wad. 

Progressives, therefore, should be grateful beyond words that Orange Man has placed such a large number of eggs in the litigation basket.