I’m a constitutional conservative which means that I vote for men and women who believe in the fundamentals of liberty established by the Founding Fathers, including: limited federal power, states rights, respect for the three separate but equal branches of government, and an unwavering commitment to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Along with his documented ignorance of the Constitution, the primary reason I opposed Donald Trump was his complete lack of understanding and/or total disregard of these vital conservative ideals.
It didn’t take long for Trump to prove the validity of my concerns. A few weeks after his inauguration, Trump met with sheriffs from around the country where the issue of civil asset forfeiture laws was discussed. For the uninitiated, civil asset forfeiture is the constitutionally questionable practice of seizing personal property without due process as is guaranteed by the Fifth and Fourteenth amendments to the Constitution.
Just days before his meeting with law enforcement, Trump issued an executive order giving Attorney General Jeff Sessions, himself a big fan of asset forfeiture, expanded powers to ignore due process and seize private property. With that accomplishment under his belt, Trump was able to assure his guests that he would aggressively continue the practice.
Unfortunately, that’s one of the promises Trump is keeping.
Attorney General Sessions announced on Monday his intention to issue a new directive making it possible for law enforcement to increase the amount of money and property they can take from people, saying that “No criminal should be allowed to keep the proceeds of their crime.”
I don’t believe criminals should be able to keep the bounty gained from their crimes, but under current applications of the law, property is often seized before guilt or innocence is proven. This clear abuse of civil asset forfeiture laws have created a cash cow for federal, state and local governments while denying the constitutional rights of people who might never face criminal charges–a fact that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas recently pointed out.
The Constitution clearly shows us that it should be hard for the government to seize private property, not easy. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Trump and Sessions feel that way.
David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative, your source for opinion that’s politically-incorrect and always “right.” His articles can also be found on RedState.com.
His daily radio commentary is nationally syndicated with Salem Radio Network and can be heard on stations across America