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New York provokes a Constitutional crisis

New York State, through its courts and its Governor’s clumsy pronouncements, has provoked a Constitutional crisis.

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The City and State of New York have provoked a Constitutional crisis by pursuing a definitely unconstitutional civil judgment. Neither New York officials nor their apparent legacy media and other supporters seem to realize what their actions imply. They have defended the recent verdict in People of the State of New York v. Donald J. Trump et al. as if it were either right and proper, or a somehow justifiable special measure against a defendant who somehow stole money without actually robbing anyone – at least, no one in particular. The Constitution allows neither kind of defense. Furthermore, those officials have brought economic calamity on their City and State, from which they might never recover. They might have provoked more than that, if Thomas Jefferson’s Most Famous Words mean a thing.

New York violates the Declaration and the Constitution

Those Most Famous Words are the Declaration of Independence, for which Thomas Jefferson gave explicit instructions to remember him.

… on the faces of the Obelisk the following inscription, and not a word more: “Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, Author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom, and Father of the University of Virginia,” because by these, as testimonials that I have lived, I wish most to be remembered.

That Declaration reads in relevant part:

… whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, …

It further reads in equally relevant part:

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: … For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury.

This last conforms exactly to how Justice Arthur Engoron of the New York State “Supreme” Court tried the Trump case. He held a bench trial, refusing to appoint a jury, and forbidding Trump or his lawyers to present any defense.


The Constitution says more:

No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed. Article I Section 9 Clause 3


No State shall … pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts. Article I Section 10 Clause 1


No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law… Amendment V


No State shall … deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law… Amendment XIV

And last:


Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. Amendment VIII

The State of New York has done nearly all these things, in violation of the Constitution. Actually it has violated either the Bill of Attainder or the Contracts Sub-clause of Article I Section 10 Clause 1. The verdict, as it reads, stands in clear violation of the Contracts Sub-clause. (RealClearWire Contributor Richard Porter gives more details on the case and the events leading up to it.) Donald Trump is liable for more than $355 million in fines, plus up to $100 million in interest. As Cullen Linebarger reported, Jonathan Turley explained that not only is the fine excessive, but Trump might have to liquidate assets to put the amount into escrow before New York’s courts will even consider an appeal.

Attorney General Letitia “Tish” James has explicitly threatened to seize assets to satisfy the judgment if Trump can’t pay it. In one sense the judge might already have done it, with his “independent watchdogappointment in the case. Eugene Volokh’s colleague Steven Calabresi has further insight.

Out of one trap, into another

Several entrepreneurs soon expressed fear that what Judge Engoron did to Donald Trump, he or another judge could do to any of them. Kevin O’Leary, of Shark Tank fame, declared he was “ceasing all future investment activities in New York.”

O’Leary called New York his “top loser State” by reason of that ruling, which he decried as “absurd,” “appalling” and “un-American.” Private equity fund manager Grant Cardone canceled earlier plans to research real-estate development opportunities in the State.

His wife Elena started a GoFundMe campaign to raise the escrow funds to clear a path for Trump’s appeal. At time of writing, the GoFundMe link is still active, and the campaign has raised over $800,000.


That’s when Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.) traded one trap for another. She actually told these business people not to worry because they are not Trump.

I think that this is really an extraordinary unusual circumstance that the law-abiding and rule-following New Yorkers who are business people have nothing to worry about because they’re very different than Donald Trump and his behavior.

The Governor was probably responding to an economic crisis. Perhaps she hadn’t even thought about how that consumer-fraud statute, as Judge Engoron applied it, violates the Contracts Sub-clause. But in telling those business people not to “worry,” she just admitted that Judge Engoron and General James had selectively applied that law. That alone violates the Bill of Attainder Clause and the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses. But what else was she going to say?

Businesses, take notice! The days of cavalierly overvaluing and undervaluing real estate for business or tax purposes are over.

Paul Ingrassia seems to think Gov. Hochul might as well say this last. That verdict, he said, signals the arrival of socialism.

A defense of New York falls apart

Benny Johnson captured a telling segment of the Monday evening (February 19) episode of Fox News’ The Five.

Jim Hoft summarized it yesterday. Apparently token leftist hostess Jessica Tarlov tried to defend the New York action. Co-hosts Jeannine Pirro, Greg Gutfeld, and Jesse Waters took immediate exception to her remarks. Specifically, Tarlov said:


Everyone who is defending Donald Trump in this, from Kevin O’Leary to some folks here, is saying it is okay to falsify your business records, to issue false financial statements, to commit conspiracy for insurance fraud.

Those are the opinions of the court, all of which put a bad light on normal business practice. As Jeannine Pirro (a former judge) pointed out. So then Tarlov teed off on other, unrelated charges:

So since Donald Trump ran the first time, he has been making this argument, “If they could do this to me, they could do this to you.” The average person is not inflating their wealth by 800 million to $2.2 billion. They’re not sexually assaulting women. They’re not storing classified documents in the toilet. They’re not fomenting an insurrection.

Again, those are matters of opinion. CNAV has said before that those charges are baseless – and in one case, arise from a false-flag pseudo-operation. Laying that aside: Jessica Tarlov named the real issue. We deal here with bills of attainder and ex post facto laws. Selective application of the law amounts to these things.

In related news, the trucker boycott against New York City appears to be growing:

And having an effect. Multiple influencers already report rising food and other prices in the city. Enough truckers have stopped deliveries that those still willing to make them, are commanding much higher fees.


Thus far two key economic groups are withdrawing their business from New York – real-estate developers and truckers. The truckers will have immediate effect; the developers will have a longer-term effect.


Can Donald Trump win on appeal? The federal courts might tell him to apply first to New York’s courts for relief – which is “exhaustion of remedies.” But to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson:

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that federal courts should not interfere with State courts for light and transient causes. Accordingly all U.S. Supreme and appellate court case law constrains courts to let would-be appellants suffer, while evils are sufferable, rather than to right a particular situation by abrogating the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

But when a State court abuses the judicial process, blatantly violates the Constitution, and gives any outside observer every reason to suspect that said court is pursuing a vindictive course to deny to any citizen of the United States the privileges and immunities the Constitution affords all citizens, it is that citizen’s right to petition the federal courts for such declaratory and injunctive relief as will stop the violation, and it is the duty of the federal courts to judge accordingly. As they have done many times before. See, for instance, New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen.

Such has been the patient sufferance of Donald Trump. And such is now the necessity which constrains him to petition the federal courts to redress a serious Constitutional grievance.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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