February 13, 2017

SPLITTERS: Libertarians split with Trump over controversial police tactic.

The White House has riled the country’s civil libertarian wing after President Trump enthusiastically voiced support for a controversial law enforcement tool that allows an individual’s property or assets to be seized without a guilty verdict.

The president weighed in on what’s known as “civil asset forfeiture” during an Oval Office meeting last week with sheriffs. The president, who ran on a law-and-order message, said he shared their desire to strengthen the practice and even said he would “destroy” the career of a Texas politician trying to end it.

The comments revived tensions with libertarians who have been fighting the practice under both Democratic and Republican administrations. Already piqued by the selection of former Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, a vocal supporter of asset forfeiture, to lead the Justice Department, the Libertarian Party itself condemned the comments.

To be fair, Big-L Libertarians have been trending more leftwards since at least the run-up to the Iraq War, and I still get a bitter chuckle out of the short-lived “liberaltarian” movement of 2009-2010.

But asset forfeiture is an unconstitutional sham, and I’m still hoping to see better out of the Trump Administration.