2016 Archives

SMU law professor among those urging Trump voters to reconsider based on American principles

Excerpt

The following is from the July 7, 2016, edition of The Dallas Morning News. Dale Carpenter, the Judge William Hawley Atwell Chair of Constitutional Law in SMU's Dedman School of Law, is the focus of this story.

July 19, 2016

By Hannah Wise
The Dallas Morning News

A Southern Methodist University law professor is one of nearly two dozen academics urging Donald Trump supporters to reconsider their vote, saying he falls short of six qualities essential to American democracy.

Dale Carpenter, who teaches at the Dedman School of Law, agreed to sign the letter after it was drafted and circulated by a group of academics and researchers with widely varying political ideologies. Carpenter considers himself a libertarian conservative. 

"I have generally identified as a Republican," he said. "But Donald Trump has made that hard."

As a law professor, Carpenter has signed his name to open letters and legal briefs before, but this is the first time he has taken a public position on a presidential candidate.

"A number of things he has said are not thought out and not practical, and I'm not sure they are even meant to be," Carpenter said. "It seems more like theater than politics, but then maybe it is politics as theater — and not very good theater."

The letter was published on The American Interest, a website devoted to promoting a multitude of views about American politics and policies. David Blankenhorn, the president of Better Angels, an organization working to depolarize American politics, was its chief drafter.

The letter defines the six American values as: self-control, honesty, giving reasons for one's views, judging others as individuals, respecting the rule of law, and respecting the independence of the press. 

It argues that Trump is "exemplifying the inverse of each of these traits as well as making clear his philosophical contempt for them."

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