Ian Bassin Profile picture
Jun 28, 2018 9 tweets 2 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
A short THREAD on a huge issue: A major thing missing to me so far in the #KennedyRetirement coverage is this: all Presidents who appoint justices might have those justices rule on their official acts, like policy initiatives or legislation. /1
But I cannot think of a prior example of a President appointing a justice who could rule on that President's personal exposure to serious criminal or civil liability. /2
Yet that's exactly what might happen here. Trump is currently under investigation on a range of fronts, from whether he obstructed justice to whether he colluded with Russia to whether his pre-presidency business dealings were on the up and up. /3
It's therefore not just possible, but I'd say it's likely that whoever Trump nominates may cast the decisive vote that determines whether Trump is civilly or criminally exposed on any of these things. /4
That could come via Trump being subpoenaed and fighting it, being indicted and fighting it, or even trying to pardon himself. All of those things, if they happen, would likely be resolved not just by the Supreme Court, but specifically by whoever Trump next appoints. /5
That is simply not a viable scenario for a democracy rooted in the rule of law. It's a simple concept: the accused may not choose who will be judge in their case. /6
In that sense, the mess of the Donald Trump presidency, which stems entirely from his own norm-breaking and potentially even law-breaking behavior, is now a colossal mess for our constitutional system. /7
The #KennedyRetirement is only 24 hours old so I don't propose to have all the solutions worked out to this problem here, but it's a problem that should be getting more attention and thought to what the right solutions are. /8
Because if it turns out Trump has broken the law but he can avoid accountability by choosing his own judge in a manner designed to insulate himself (and don't kid yourself if you think the Senate GOP is going to be a check on this), then we will have lost our democracy. /end

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More from @ianbassin

Jul 6, 2018
Trump (surprise) has his facts wrong about our suit, but what's worse: The plaintiffs @protctdemocracy represents are 3 Americans (not crazies) who had private lives hacked & dumped on web. His job is to protect not attack them. Also: This case isn't over protectdemocracy.org
So for example, a few things @realDonaldTrump is misleading about. First, the case was not brought by @DNC. It was brought by @protctdemocracy on behalf of American voters who were injured when their private info like SS#s were hacked and dumped to the world. /2
These voters sued the Trump Campaign for conspiring with Russia to dump their private data online in violation of their privacy rights and civil rights. See more here: protectdemocracy.org/privacylawsuit/ /3
Read 13 tweets
Jun 3, 2018
THREAD: Here’s one way to understand what’s going on with the Trump team legal memo, why they put it out, why it’s wrong, and why even if anyone buys it it doesn't help Trump. /1
The Trump lawyers are trying to pull a fast one in a few ways. First, they’re trying to say Trump can’t commit the crime of obstruction of justice because he runs the justice department and can do whatever he wants with it. /2
Trump floated this theory himself a few months back when he claimed to have “an absolute right” to do whatever he wants with the Justice Dept. /3
Read 23 tweets

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