The First Amendment (and Donald Trump)

July 6, 2015

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Today’s lesson involves “abridging the freedom of speech” and nothing else.

The text of the First Amendment only refers to Congress making no law. However, the Fourteenth Amendment bars states from making or enforcing “any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States,” and also precludes any deprivation of “life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” Bottom line? No governmental body can abridge the freedom of speech.

So what? Well, this New Yorker with bad hair and a really, really big mouth has decided to run for POTUS.

download (1)

His name is Donald Trump. And the best evidence of his really, really big mouth? Here’s the big quote, with thanks to Latin Post:

When Mexico sends its people they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they’re telling us what we’re getting.

Now, the comment has not gone unnoticed by people who matter. Univision is the largest Spanish-language television network in the world. NBC is a major media company. Serta makes beds. Oh yes, there’s also Macy’s, a place where some people still buy stuff.

Univision, NBC, Serta, and Macy’s all had business relationships with Mr. Trump. Univision and NBC broadcast beauty pageants owned by Mr. Trump and others, while Serta and Macy’s sold products using the Trump name. I’m sorry, but ick on buying sh*t with the Trump name on it! Just ick!!!

Note the past tense. Each of the four companies has terminated/is terminating its business relationships with Mr. Trump. Or, as someone else might say: You’re fired, Mr. Trump!

Mr. Trump’s lawsuit against Univision—all 18 pages of it—was filed last Tuesday. It’s a humdinger, for it could be nothing less if it belongs to Mr. Trump. I’m especially fond of paragraph 2, which reads as follows:

While Univision has claimed in the media that its decision to cut ties with MUO came in response to certain comments by Mr. Trump during a June 16, 2015 campaign speech announcing his candidacy for President of the United States, the decision was, in reality, a thinly veiled attempt by Univision, a privately held company principally owned by longtime Clinton foundation donor and current Hillary Clinton fundraiser, Haim Saban, to suppress Mr. Trump’s freedom of speech under the First Amendment as he begins to campaign for the nation’s presidency, and in recent weeks, has dramatically risen in the polls while expressing critical views of Mrs. Clinton. Little else can explain Univision’s decision to not only abandon its contractual relationship with MUO, but also, upon information and belief, pressure NBC to follow suit and cut longstanding ties with Plaintiffs nearly two weeks after the statements were made.* [Emphasis supplied.]

And so we close the loop. Mr. Trump, you want to take an oath on January 20, 2017, swearing to, among other things, “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” You won’t be taking that oath on that day, but you might want to bone up  on your subject anyway. No federal or state law prevents you from mouthing off and acting stupid. And if some people with whom you are doing business don’t want to do business with you anymore, so be it. (Maybe someone breached  a contract; otherwise, sir, you’re out of luck.) The First Amendment says nothing about consequences, and no one has prevented you from leaving your pie hole open for too, too long.

In closing, and for a calmer analysis of this folderol, read Donald Trump and the First Amendment in his $500 million lawsuit, posted at the National Constitution Center’s website since July 1.

*Um, gee, I don’t know from all of this big business stuff, but dissing millions of people who spend money with you seems like a pretty good reason to say: Go away! Now!

3 Responses to The First Amendment (and Donald Trump)

Leave a Reply