Friday, December 01, 2017

Poisonous trees, killer fruit, Donald Trump — and a legal theory that might help undo much of the damage he has caused

The Manchineel tree. Touching any part, or even getting wet from
rain that drips from it, will burn and blister your skin. Eat its fruit
and you die. Read what this has to do with Donald Trump. 
There’s a principle of United States constitutional law designed to stop cops from searches without warrants, or from beating or torturing Americans for information. 

Just doing those things is illegal, of course. But what if I illegally search your house and discover a $50 million stash of marijuana? Or if I beat up Willie the Neighborhood Bum, and he then confesses that he helped you helped bury a drug stash in your backyard, and when I dig up your yard, sure enough, there’s the stash?

Under long-established law, I can’t charge you for drug possession. That’s because my discovery of your stash is what the courts have termed “The Fruit of the Poisonous Tree.” It means that if illegally-obtained information leads me to evidence of your guilt, I’m not allowed to use that evidence against you. It’s tainted because of the way I originally obtained the information that led me to the evidence.

Okay, here’s where some will claim I’m getting into a dicey argument. I’ll take the risk.

If tainted police methods can make their fruit, — criminal evidence — invalid, can a tainted election make the fruit of that election —  the Trump presidency — equally invalid?

Wait, stop, don’t hit me! I’m only asking. It seems to me that if current investigations reveal that a mischievous foreign power (let’s say hypothetically, umm, Russia) poisoned  our elections — okay, okay, swayed our elections, but that’s a poisoning of the electoral process — then the fruit of that poisoned tree is also tainted.

In this case, the tainted fruit is Donald Trump and his Vice President, Mike Pence.

And if that’s the case, anything done by the tainted President is also tainted and invalid.

Appointment of ultra conservative judges, or any judge, to the Federal courts? Invalid.

Signing a new tax code that robs the poor and middle class to give to the rich? Invalid.

Lifting regulations on water pollution, air pollution, or that rape our nation’s natural "forever wild" public lands? Invalid.

Any bill, any executive order, any cabinet or sub-cabinet appointment? Invalid.

Succession of Mike Pence if Donald Trump resigns, or is removed from office, or becomes unable to serve by reason of insanity, physical illness or death? Invalid.

The third in line for succession is Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. But that’s a bridge that can be crossed when we come to it.
A Machineel apple This'll kill ya.

Meanwhile let us hope to find out whether Donald Trump was elected in a tainted election process. If he was, he’s every bit as poisonous as a shiny Manchineel apple. And when it comes to my legal theory, there’s no telling who will bite.


Cirze said...

Nicely put.

Unfortunately, though, we'll have to add this amendment to the Constitution before the next election.

Ten Bears said...

Trees like that should cut down, burned. A threat to the public at large.

I too, have wondered about this.