Conservative attorney George Conway shared some fundamental tenets of U.S. constitutional law on Tuesday, following President Donald Trump’s declaration that he could assert total authority over governors to lift coronavirus lockdown measures in their states should he wish to do so.
In an op-ed published in The Washington Post, Conway tore into Trump’s obvious misapprehensions about the Constitution, which gives states, not the federal government, the power to enact policies to mitigate public health crises.
“Trump took a solemn oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. After his years in the job, he ought to know something about that document,” Conway wrote.
Conway, who is a vocal Trump critic despite his marriage to senior White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, noted that Trump ought to understand the relationship between the federal government and the states set out in the 10th Amendment, a measure that conservatives have “harped on the importance of” for decades.
“Faithfully executing the law means not only enforcing it but also abiding by it — including its limitations,” he added.
Conway also pointed to the 1952 Supreme Court case Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. v. Sawyer. The decision, in that case, reversed an instance of presidential overreach and affirmed that the president’s power to issue orders must stem from the Constitution or an act of Congress.
Trump doesn’t seem to realize that he is no longer running the Trump Organization, Conway said, and that the office he holds doesn’t belong to him or designate him with complete authority.
“Trump would do well to learn these basic tenets of American constitutional law, if only because it’s his job to follow them, and because doing so would make him a more effective president,” Conway wrote.
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