A Trump win is a loss for racial equality
© Greg Nash

Many Americans are disappointed in our government and our presidential candidates for not adequately addressing the ongoing crisis of racial injustice in our nation. Indeed, some are concerned that both candidates have supported policies that have damaged communities of color in the past.

The increasingly intense electoral buzz seems only to distract public debate further from this critical issue. But it is exactly now that progressives must recognize the major argument in favor of a Clinton over Trump: the Constitution. If you are not motivated to go to the polls on November 8 because you think that nothing will change under either nominee, don’t forget what is at stake. 

The next president will get at least one, and likely two or more, appointments to the Supreme Court. If Trump wins the White House, there could be significant legal ramifications. 

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For one, Trump has supported stop-and-frisk, a policy struck down by a federal court in New York, but one the Republican nominee sees as an effective tool for reducing crime. The policy could be validated nationwide by a Trump-leaning Supreme Court, which finds police stops no longer need to be based on a particularized suspicion.

Trump’s running mate Indiana Gov. Mike PenceMike (Michael) Richard PenceN. Korea warns it could sink US carrier ‘with a single strike’: report Pence visits kangaroos at Sydney zoo on last leg of Asia-Pacific trip Long lines at North Korea gas stations prompt questions over potential fuel shortage MORE has defended racial profiling in not allowing Syrian refugees into his state because of a generalized fear of violence. A lower court held this to be discriminatory. But Pence insists — and a Trump Supreme Court could well agree — that profiling is a rational response to fear. 

The Supreme Court has already stripped away many of the provisions of the landmark Voting Rights Act. What remains would be at great risk of being eliminated by Trump appointments to the high court.

The right to bear arms, a right considerably expanded in 2008 with District of Columbia v. Heller, would likely be expanded by a Trump Court so as to prohibit any reasonable measures to protect against the scourge of guns, such as background checks or a ban on assault rifles.

Affirmative action is within one justice’s vote of being abolished across the nation in all its forms. A Trump Court would no doubt administer that final blow.

Some justices have called for the overruling of Roe v. Wade. Two Trump appointments could make it so.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is under assault for requiring employers to avoid a racially discriminatory impact in their workplaces. Justice Scalia thought that was unconstitutional. A Trump Court would likely agree.

This is only the tip of the iceberg on how a Trump Supreme Court could set the cause of justice back for a generation. The predictions are not based on guesswork, but on the records of current justices and likely Trump appointees. A Clinton Court would work in the opposite direction on each issue. Putting aside every other facet of the presidency, this terrifying list should be enough to fire you up to vote on November 8. Please: We all have an awful lot to lose.

Brown is a professor of constitutional law at USC Gould School of Law. She was a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Follow USC Gould School of Law on Twitter @USCGouldLaw


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