Political Norms, Constitutional Conventions, and President Donald Trump

29 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2018 Last revised: 10 Apr 2018

Neil Siegel

Duke University School of Law

Date Written: January 3, 2018

Abstract

This symposium Essay argues that what is most troubling about the conduct of President Trump during and since the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign is not any potential violations of the U.S. Constitution or federal law. There likely have been some such violations, and there may be more. But what is most troubling about President Trump is his disregard of political norms that had previously constrained presidential candidates and Presidents, and his flouting of nonlegal but obligatory “constitutional conventions” that had previously guided and disciplined occupants of the White House. These norms and conventions, although not “in” the Constitution, play a pivotal role in sustaining the Constitution. Part I discusses political norms and constitutional conventions, including how they are alike, how they are different, and why they matter in the United States notwithstanding the existence of a written constitution. Part II substantiates this Essay’s claim that President Trump has consistently disrespected numerous political norms and constitutional conventions. The Conclusion suggests that the jury is still out on how successful President Trump will be in eroding political norms and constitutional conventions.

Keywords: constitutional conventions, political norms, presidency, Trump

Suggested Citation

Siegel, Neil, Political Norms, Constitutional Conventions, and President Donald Trump (January 3, 2018). Indiana Law Journal, Vol. 93, 2017; Duke Law School Public Law & Legal Theory Series No. 2018-9. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3096033

Neil Siegel (Contact Author)

Duke University School of Law ( email )

210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
415
rank
63,770
Abstract Views
1,259
PlumX