Saturday, September 09, 2023

On Slippery Slopes

Gerard N. Magliocca

I understand three of the broad positions on the civil and criminal cases against Trump. One is that these cases should not be brought at all. Just stick to normal politics because anything else sets a bad precedent. I also understand my position, which is that Section Three disqualification is an appropriate response in part because it is more limited (and less dangerous) than using criminal law. I also understand (though I do not agree with) the "throw the kitchen sink" approach of using any legal option available. 

But I don't understand a fourth response. Disqualification would set a terrible precedent, but bringing criminal charges does not. How can that be? Consider some of the objections raised to disqualification. It will empower partisan local officials to make mischief. It will have a chilling effect on speech, It's not part of our democratic tradition. And so on. But all of these criticisms apply with ten times more force to using the criminal law against political candidates. Yet some people do not seem too troubled by that.  

So I'd be interested in hearing from people who (1) support the criminal cases against Trump; but (2) do not support the Section Three cases against him, as to their reasons.  



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