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Sunday, March 29, 2020

L'état, C'est Trump

"When they disrespect me, they're disrespecting our government."

Put aside that the First Amendment exists so people can disrespect the government. The President--or any government official--is not the government and the two should never be conflated.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on March 29, 2020 at 07:45 PM in First Amendment, Howard Wasserman | Permalink



Again, I think you've vastly overstated the case.

Posted by: YesterdayIKilledAMammoth | Mar 31, 2020 11:29:14 AM

It may be possible to have disagreement or legitimate criticism without disrespect. The problem is that the source of the quotation is unable to draw that distinction.

Jeff: Another example of my ongoing series on how President Bartlet is President Trump.

Posted by: Howard Wasserman | Mar 30, 2020 12:10:05 PM

What, pray tell, was the Boston Tea Party if not disrespect?

Democracy is necessarily founded on disrespect for at minimum the policies of those in power. Any expectations that disrespect would never extend from the policies to the policymakers is at best counterfactual and directly rejects that this nation got its start in a revolution (and endured another one less than a century later).

Democracy doesn't just tolerate dissent and disrespect. It embraces it as essential.

Posted by: C.E. Petit | Mar 30, 2020 11:29:39 AM

I'm not sure the First Amendment exists so people can disrespect the government. I think it exists so people can make legitimate criticisms of the government.

I think the claim the First Amendment's main focus is to disrespect and abuse the government of government officials is...a severe overstatement on your part.

Posted by: YesterdayIKilledAMammoth | Mar 30, 2020 10:49:27 AM


Posted by: Jeff Lipshaw | Mar 30, 2020 10:47:39 AM

Anti-sedition acts, ftw

Posted by: thegreatdisappointment | Mar 30, 2020 10:44:39 AM

Of course this is true, and of course it is one more reminder of the dangers of personalizing politics and of any form of cult of personality in politics. But one might have more to say about ways in which one might respect particular *offices.* That's quite a different matter. Even here, one may dissent and certainly has the freedom to dissent from a point of view that treats offices as important and worthy of respect and dignity (and of officers as having a duty to act, at least in the performance of office, with dignity). Indeed, I think there is far from a settled view in this country that officers *should* try to present themselves in a way that is consistent with a dignified mien and manner, and that differences of view on this extend as far back as the beginning of the republic. But it's a tradition worth considering as well, and it is substantially dependent on the office and not its occupant.

Posted by: Paul Horwitz | Mar 30, 2020 10:09:38 AM

*our government.

Posted by: Asher | Mar 29, 2020 11:05:11 PM

Yup. Large parts of our system is built to support exactly that distinction. Large parts of administrative law also draw on it.

And being the President means you should expect criticism, and keep doing your job - including being responsible to help all the parts of your country - without it.

Posted by: Dorit Reiss | Mar 29, 2020 8:55:15 PM

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