Trump Built His Swamp In A Marsh Of Legalized Corruption

Casting Trump as singular — rather than emblematic — ignores the systemic problem, and risks never draining the larger marsh that continues to turn corporate cash into corrupt laws.

By David Sirota and cross-posted from Billmoyers.com.

[The]  bombshell New York Times’ report on Donald Trump is an important deep dive into how business interests sought and received favors from President Trump after spending big money at his properties, and making large donations to Trump’s political machine.

The Times says that this is “the swamp that Trump built” — but the insinuation is a bit off. Yes, Trump certainly built his own egregiously rancid bog that needs to be drained in this election. However, he built it inside a giant wetland of graft that was constructed by a series of court rulings and enforcement policies that have effectively legalized corruption.

These rulings are particularly relevant right now, as the US Senate this week considers the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Barrett depicts herself as an Antonin Scalia acolyte who insists she believes judges should just call balls and strikes and never legislate from the bench.

“The policy decisions and value judgments of government must be made by the political branches elected by and accountable to the people,” she is expected to tell senators in her opening statement at her confirmation hearing. “The public should not expect courts to do so, and courts should not try.

And yet much of the policymaking that legalized corruption — and that Trump is taking advantage of — came from court rulings written by conservative jurists who have billed themselves the same way. Those alleged “textualists” didn’t stick to any text — instead, they deliberately used their power to manufacture brand new graft-justifying precedents that are wholly divorced from any constitutional passage.

We cannot ignore those rulings and pretend that Trump is an anomalous creature from the black lagoon rather than what he actually is: a particularly grotesque product of a jurisprudential swamp.

Casting Trump as singular — rather than emblematic — ignores the systemic problem, and risks never draining the larger marsh that continues to turn corporate cash into corrupt laws…

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