For what seems like the millionth time since former President Donald Trump first went down those escalator steps in June 2015, the big-box media has dug up “real” and “authentic” conservatives to loftily rule against his fitness to be the Republican Party standard bearer. The daydreams always involve permanently banishing Trump from the world of American politics. The latest tactic? Keep him off the ballot in 2024.
“Conservative Case Emerges to Disqualify Trump for Role on Jan. 6,” reads the headline of an article published by The New York Times on Aug. 10. This has drawn renewed attention now that certain New Hampshire Republicans are indeed hoping to forcibly exclude Trump from the state’s presidential ballot next year.
The NYT was eager to stress the alleged rock-ribbed rightist bona fides of the subjects in question. “Two prominent conservative law professors have concluded that Donald J. Trump is ineligible to be president under a provision of the Constitution that bars people who have engaged in an insurrection from holding government office. The professors are active members of the Federalist Society, the conservative legal group, and proponents of originalism, the method of interpretation that seeks to determine the Constitution’s original meaning,” the paper exclaimed in an especially pregnant lead sentence.
‘We’re Constitutional Scholars’
The article takes pains to point out that these eminent legal scholars were guided only by free inquiry, bringing no preconceived notions to the table:
“The professors – William Baude of the University of Chicago and Michael Stokes Paulsen of the University of St. Thomas – studied the question for more than a year and detailed their findings in a long article to be published next year in The University of Pennsylvania Law Review.
‘When we started out, neither of us was sure what the answer was,’ Professor Baude said. ‘People were talking about this provision of the Constitution. We thought: “We’re constitutional scholars, and this is an important constitutional question. We ought to figure out what’s really going on here.” And the more we dug into it, the more we realized that we had something to add.’”
This cherished contribution to conservative thought was quickly seized upon by a notable New Hampshire Republican keen on preventing Trump from being an option to Granite State voters in 2024.
“Bryant ‘Corky’ Messner, an attorney and prominent Republican who won the 2020 Republican Senate nomination thanks in great part to Trump’s support, is mulling a lawsuit if Trump later this year files to put his name on the New Hampshire primary ballot,” Fox News reported on Aug. 30. “This article presented a very, very, compelling analysis that in fact Donald Trump is disqualified from being on the ballot,” Messner told Fox, referring to the piece authored by Baude and Paulsen.
Dominant establishment news site Politico, which is so in thrall to ruling progressive elites that it allowed French President Emmanuel Macron to edit the content of an April interview it conducted with him, transparently used Messner to justify crafting a lengthy article playing up the notion that Trump could be disqualified from the ballot is indeed a compelling legal question. “I’m a Constitutional conservative. The words say what they say,” Messner told Politico. “I quite frankly believe it is in Donald Trump’s best interest to get this looked at as quickly as possible.”
But even Macron’s favorite American political journal had to admit that the scheme is a longshot at best. What Politico or The New York Times did not tell readers, however, is that the scholarly article Messner was leaning on while posing as a staunch “Constitutional conservative” is as impartial as CNN on Election Night.
Stowing Away the Trump Derangement Baggage
A cursory look at the two authors finds them canoodling with noted Never Trumper Bill Kristol and expressing open loathing of Trump years before their supposedly above-the-fray piece.
Michael Stokes Paulsen “is a graduate of Northwestern University, Yale Law School, and Yale Divinity School,” his Federalist Society bio states. “Professor Paulsen has taught as a visiting professor at Princeton University [and] Georgetown” and “was a fellow in the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, in the Department of Politics at Princeton University.”
In other words, his Swamp-soaked academic credentials are impeccable.
Two days after Jan. 6, 2021, Paulsen penned a frothy opinion piece for The Bulwark, the notorious Never Trumper website that touts Kristol as “editor-at-large.” Its unambiguous title: “The Constitutional and Moral Imperative of Immediate Impeachment.” Its lead sentence: “President Trump should be impeached and removed from office immediately.” Paulsen’s screed was the exact opposite of calm and sober-minded.
Trump “has, without doubt, committed acts constituting ‘high Crimes and Misdemeanors’ within the meaning of the Constitution’s impeachment standard,” Paulsen asserted. “He has attempted to preserve himself in office, notwithstanding his defeat for reelection, by seeking to subvert the results of a series of popular democratic state elections — a terrible attack on our constitutional republican government. He has done so by developing a tissue of lies and repeating them endlessly, in a fraudulent effort to undermine public confidence in election results.”
Baude also has a fine elitist academic resume. He “received his BS in Mathematics from the University of Chicago and his JD from Yale Law School” and “was a fellow at the Stanford Constitutional Law Center,” the Federalist Society bio details. On Oct. 8, 2021, Baude sat down for a cozy chat at the “Conversations With Bill Kristol” podcast dedicated to discussing “electoral subversion.” Care to guess who they wanted to talk about? “I think it’s terrifying that one important way to be in good standing in the Republican Party and to rise to prominence in the Republican Party is I guess the big lie, it’s to say, ‘I believe Donald Trump won the election and that Republicans who failed to take his side, failed to find a way to keep him in office, have betrayed him and I’ll be a true party loyalist,’” Baude told Kristol.
“And then you, of course, have the storming of the Capitol [on Jan. 6], which in some ways, I mean, was the most dramatic and got the most coverage,” he luridly stated. “In some ways, it’s not nearly as scary as a lot of the other pieces of this puzzle.” While expressing relief that Trump was not allowed to advance his election fraud case, Baude let Kristol know just where he stands as a “conservative.”
“The treatment of Lynne [sic] Cheney makes that more nerve-wracking,” he declared. “Although, the fact that [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell [R-KY] remains in control of his party in the Senate is encouraging. He made no bones about the fact that he did not like what Trump was doing, did not think it was proper. He gave some strong speeches. Now, he didn’t ultimately join the impeachment effort, didn’t ultimately have the votes. I get that. So, the fact that he’s still around, makes me sleep a little easier. If he’s displaced by some other senators, then I’ll really get nervous.”
There you have it. Meet the two constitutional conservative heroes as touted by The New York Times. Gee, that whole “when we started out, neither of us was sure what the answer was” tripe suddenly sounds a whole lot less convincing, doesn’t it?
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