Op-ed: Use of federal power against private citizens and companies in the United States is dangerously unconstitutional

By Justin Florence and Berin Szóka, 6 April 2018
Our Constitution bars the president from using, or even threatening to use, the powers of the federal government to single out, and punish, a specific party. The Fifth Amendment guarantees Americans “due process of law.” The government must follow fair and neutral procedures before taking enforcement or regulatory action against particular people and companies. The federal government may not deny anyone “equal protection of the laws.” That’s often thought to apply to groups — based on race or gender, for example. But it also bars arbitrary or discriminatory unequal treatment of specific disfavored people or companies. These rules apply to the president. The First Amendment prohibits retaliation against disfavored speech. Trump has made no effort to conceal his outrage about The Post’s criticism. Last year, Trump tweeted that “The #AmazonWashingtonPost, sometimes referred to as the guardian of Amazon not paying internet taxes (which they should) is FAKE NEWS!” And he recently insisted that The Post must register as a lobbyist. Government officials, like other Americans, are free to respond to criticism and express their own views in the marketplace of ideas. But they must not use, or threaten to use, the power of government to retaliate against critical speech.
Read the full article here: https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/trump-vs-bezos-the-president-is-on-the-wro…


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