Khizr Khan, the father of a Muslim-American soldier who was killed in the Iraq War, accused Donald Trump of not reading the Constitution. Rep. Chris Collins, a Trump supporter, turned the claim around on Hillary Clinton.
During an interview on MSNBC, Collins made assertions about Clinton’s views on the Constitution in the context of the Gold Star father’s Democratic National Convention speech.
"He stood next to Hillary Clinton, who has already said she's going to wipe out the Second Amendment. She doesn't believe in the First Amendment. And, she also believes in big government, which flies in the face of the 10th Amendment." Collins said during the interview. "That was absolutely hypocritical."
Collins based his claims on a few of Clinton’s positions. She has criticized the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that deemed spending money to influence elections "free speech" that may not be limited. She supports gun control. Collins said he also believes Clinton will continue to issue executive orders similar to those by President Obama. His office says that practice violates the 10th Amendment.
Is Collins right about Clinton’s positions on the First, Second, and 10th Amendments?
The First Amendment
Hillary Clinton does not agree with the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission.
The Supreme Court held in the case that restrictions could not be placed on how corporations spend money to influence an election. In the opinion of the court, since corporations have the same rights as individuals, they are also guaranteed free speech under the First Amendment.
That does not mean Clinton does not believe in the First Amendment. It means she, like many others, does not agree with the court’s interpretation of the First Amendment in this case.
The Second Amendment
The Supreme Court has ruled the Second Amendment guarantees the right of citizens to bear arms. Clinton supports gun control policies that gun-rights advocates call contrary to its interpretation.
Clinton said in her speech to the Democratic National Convention that she was "not here to repeal the Second Amendment." In an interview on ABC's 'This Week,' Clinton said, "I believe we can have common-sense gun safety measures consistent with the Second Amendment."
PolitiFact earlier this year rated as False Trump’s claim that Clinton "wants to abolish the 2nd Amendment.
The 10th Amendment
Republicans have criticized President Barack Obama’s use of executive orders to address issues Congress has not acted on. Clinton’s campaign has said in the past she would consider using that power, too, if she cannot reach agreements with Congress. Collins calls that a slippery slope to violating the Constitution.
The 10th Amendment reinforces the idea of federalism. Some laws are decided at the state level while others are under federal control. We spoke to constitutional law experts Laurence Tribe from Harvard Law School and Matthew Steilen from the University at Buffalo about Collins' claim. In this case, they said executive actions and orders typically do not directly contradict the 10th Amendment.
Executive actions are not new. George Washington even issued them. Obama has issued more than many presidents, but fewer than others. Ronald Reagan issued 381, while Obama issued 244 through July.
In an interview on MSNBC, Collins said Clinton is "going to wipe out the Second Amendment. She doesn't believe in the First Amendment. And, she also believes in big government, which flies in the face of the 10th Amendment."
Clinton holds positions that contradict certain interpretations of those amendments, but Collins’ claim is too broad.
We rate this claim as False.
Email conversation with Michael McAdams from Congressman Chris Collins’ Office
Email conversation with Josh Schwerin from the Hillary Clinton campaign
Phone conversation with Vin Bonventre from Albany Law School
Email conversation with Julian Ku from Hofstra University School of Law
Email conversation with Larry Tribe from Harvard Law School
Matthew Steilen from the University at Buffalo School of Law
PolitiFact: The backstory of the Muslim soldier's dad who said Trump 'sacrificed nothing', Jul. 29, 2016, Accessed Aug. 2, 2016
PolitiFact: Is Bernie Sanders the only presidential candidate without a super PAC? Sep. 30, 2015, Accessed Aug. 2, 2016
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Gun violence prevention section of Hillary Clinton’s website, Accessed Aug. 2, 2016
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Hillary Clinton Opposes Heller Gun Rights Ruling, Adviser Says, Bloomberg, May 20, 2016, Accessed Aug. 2, 2016
PolitiFact: Donald Trump falsely claims Hillary Clinton 'wants to abolish the 2nd Amendment', May 11, 2016, Accessed Aug. 2, 2016
If Hillary Clinton is running for Obama’s ‘third term,’ she faces these challenges, Washington Post, Apr. 15, 2016, Accessed Aug. 2, 2016
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PolitiFact: Fewer immigrants affected by Supreme Court ruling in NYC than De Blasio thinks, July 13, 2016
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Hillary Clinton at the 2015 U.S. Conference of Mayors, Jun. 20, 2015, Accessed Aug. 2, 2016
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