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Trump's border wall demand is constitutionally illegitimate.

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 / ‘The president ran on a promise to build a wall paid for by Mexico.’ Photograph: UPI/Barcroft Images

No reading of our constitution would ever uphold the view that a president can stop the functioning of government, to insist upon a program unsupported by the public.

Lawrence Lessig, the Guardian

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Friday 4 January 2019 | t feels quaint – maybe a bit absurd – to remark the fact that Donald Trump has no constitutionally moral justification for his demand that Congress fund the building of a wall on the Mexican border. Such an argument feels absurd when made against this president. Yet it should not be insignificant to Congress.

The president ran on a promise to build a wall “paid for by Mexico”. No majority of Americans has ever voted to support that idea. But that idea is not the notion that is now shutting down the government. A wall paid for by taxpayers is. That wall certainly was a central issue in the 2018 midterm elections. Overwhelmingly, the public rejected it as well. Thus has the president earned public support for neither version of his Mexican wall. Yet he is using his veto power to demand that Americans pay for a wall before he will allow the government to reopen.

Lawrence Lessig is the Roy L Furman professor of law and leadership at Harvard Law School and the director of the Edmond J Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University.

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