In August, I proposed a system of scoring political candidates (and especially presidential candidates) according to their level of support for the specific provisions of the Bill of Rights. Now that the list of Virginia presidential candidates is set, I have reviewed each of them according to that system and assigned scores.

The details of the scoring methodology are not repeated here. If you are interested in a more detailed treatment of the score components, you can refer back to that original post. You can also take a look below the chart for some notes that explain some of the scores, especially those that are based on assumptions rather than explicit statements by the candidates.

It is possible that these scores will need to be adjusted as the election season goes forward based on new candidate positions and statements. If that happens, the post will be labeled with a ‘last modified’ date and a description of the changes will be added at the end of the post.

As I noted on the original post, the only good/acceptable score is an A+ (100%). Because the President of the United States is sworn to protect and defend the constitution, he or she must comply with every single one of its provisions. Scores of A and B (80-99%) are bad. Scores of C and D (60-79%) are really bad. Scores of F (0-59%) are really, really bad.

Score Chart

Clinton (D) Johnson (L) Trump (R) McMullin (I) Stein (G)
First Amendment F (3/10) A (9/10) D (6/10) A (9/10) F (3/10)
Religious Establishment (2 Points) 1 2 2 2 0
Religious Free Exercise (2 Points) 0 1 2 2 0
Free Speech (2 Points) 1 2 1 2 1
Free Press (2 Points) 1 2 0 2 2
Peaceable Assembly (2 Points) 0 2 1 1 0
Clinton (D) Johnson (L) Trump (R) McMullin (I) Stein (G)
Second Amendment F (1/10) A (9/10) A+ (10/10) A+ (10/10)  F (1/10)
Keeping Arms (2 Points) 1 2 2 2 1
Bearing Arms (2 Points) 0 2 2 2 0
Interstate Recognition (2 Points) 0 1 2 2 0
Unnecessary Restrictions (2 Points) 0 2 2 2 0
Treaty Imposition (2 Points) 0 2 2 2 0
Clinton (D) Johnson (L) Trump (R) McMullin (I) Stein (G)
Third Amendment A+ (10/10) A+ (10/10) A+ (10/10) A+ (10/10) A+ (10/10)
Quartering (10 Points) 10 10 10 10 10
Clinton (D) Johnson (L) Trump (R) McMullin (I) Stein (G)
Fourth Amendment F (3/10) A+ (10/10) F (2/10) D (6/10) A+ (10/10)
Search and Seizure (2 Points) 2 2 2 2 2
Civil Forfeiture (2 Points) 0 2 0 0 2
Data Security (2 Points) 0 2 0 2 2
Domestic Surveillance (2 Points) 1 2 0 2 2
Implied Consent (2 Points) 0 2 0 0 2
Clinton (D) Johnson (L) Trump (R) McMullin (I) Stein (G)
Fifth Amendment D (6/10) A+ (10/10) F (4/10) B (8/10) A (9/10)
Due Process (2 Points) 2 2 1 2 2
Grand Jury and Jeopardy (2 Points) 2 2 2 2 2
Self Incrimination (2 Points) 1 2 1 2 2
Eminent Domain Abuse (2 Points) 0 2 0 0 1
Compelled Incrimination (2 Points) 1 2 0 2 2
Clinton (D) Johnson (L) Trump (R) McMullin (I) Stein (G)
Sixth Amendment D (6/10) A+ (10/10) D (6/10) B (8/10) A+ (10/10)
Criminal Trial by Jury (2 Points) 2 2 2 2 2
Right to Counsel (2 Points) 2 2 2 2 2
Presumption of Innocence (2 Points) 0 2 0 2 2
Usurpation by Misclassification (2 Points) 0 2 1 1 2
Public Trials (2 Points) 2 2 1 1 2
Clinton (D) Johnson (L) Trump (R) McMullin (I) Stein (G)
Seventh Amendment A+ (10/10) A+ (10/10) A+ (10/10) A+ (10/10) A+ (10/10)
Civil Trial by Jury (6 Points) 6 6 6 6 6
Reexamination of Facts (4 Points) 4 4 4 4 4
Clinton (D) Johnson (L) Trump (R) McMullin (I) Stein (G)
Eighth Amendment B (8/10) A+ (10/10) F (3/10) A+ (10/10) A+ (10/10)
Excessive or Cruel Punishment (3 Points) 3 3 2 3 3
Torture (3 Points) 3 3 0 3 3
Death Penalty (2 Points) 0 2 0 2 2
Humane Treatment (2 Points) 2 2 1 2 2
Clinton (D) Johnson (L) Trump (R) McMullin (I) Stein (G)
Ninth Amendment F (4/10) A (9/10) A (9/10) A+ (10/10) F (4/10)
Existence of Other Rights (2 Points) 2 2 2 2 2
The Source of Rights (2 Points) 0 2 2 2 0
Inalienable and Predicate Rights (2 Points) 0 1 2 2 0
Presumption of Liberty (2 Points) 0 2 1 2 0
Right to Privacy (2 Points) 2 2 2 2 2
Clinton (D) Johnson (L) Trump (R) McMullin (I) Stein (G)
Tenth Amendment F (0/10) A (9/10) F (2/10) F (5/10) F (0/10)
Enumerated Powers (2 Points) 0 2 0 1 0
Interstate Commerce (2 Points) 0 2 2 2 0
Areas of No Authority (2 Points) 0 2 0 1 0
Presumption of Standing (2 Points) 0 1 0 0 0
Federalism and Subsidiarity (2 Points) 0 2 0 1 0
Clinton (D) Johnson (L) Trump (R) McMullin (I) Stein (G)
Total Score F (51/100) A (96/100) D (62/100) B (86/100) D (67/100)

Notes and Comments

First Amendment

  • Clinton (D): Generally supportive of individual speech and press rights, but consistently opposed to those rights for groups. Clinton supports government establishment of irreligion (laws that disadvantage religious groups and individuals in favor of irreligious groups and individuals). Clinton has also proposed a constitutional amendment to explicitly deny First Amendment protections to groups.
  • Johnson (L): Consistently in favor of both individual and collective religious, speech, and press rights. Johnson loses a point on religious free exercise due to his assertion that religious individuals who engage in business must comply with ‘anti-discrimination’ laws even when they run contrary to conscience.
  • Trump (R): Though Trump is very strong on religious liberty, he is consistently tepid on free speech and press rights. He has called for strengthening libel laws and prosecuting media outlets that lie about politicians, which would have a dangerous chilling effect on speech and press.
  • McMullin (I): Consistently in favor of individual and collective religious, speech, and press rights. McMullin loses a point on peaceable assembly because he denies the right of groups to engage in political speech via donations to campaigns.
  • Stein (G): Like Clinton, generally strong on individual speech and press rights, but opposed to those rights for groups. Stein outperforms Clinton on free press rights, where the Green Party is generally strong, but also supports an even more radical support for government establishment of irreligion.

Second Amendment

  • Clinton (D): Supports only a limited right to keep (own or possess) arms for recreation, hunting, and perhaps home defense. Openly hostile to all other rights encompassed in the Second Amendment. Opposes the right to bear (transport and carry) arms, opposes interstate recognition, supports unnecessary restrictions, and supports arms-restricting treaties.
  • Johnson (L): Supportive of Second Amendment rights. Johnson loses one point on interstate recognition, an issue upon which he has not personally commented, because many in the Libertarian Party consider this a ‘states rights’ issue and would not impose federal reciprocity.
  • Trump (R): Very supportive of Second Amendment rights, explicitly supporting the full extent of the right to keep and bear arms, including interstate recognition. This score is, however, based on the positions he has expressed in this campaign. He had previously been more hostile to the Second Amendment.
  • McMullin (I): Very supportive of Second Amendment rights, explicitly supporting the full extent of the right to keep and bear arms, including interstate recognition.
  • Stein (G): Like Clinton, supports only a limited right to keep (own or possess) arms for recreation, hunting, and perhaps home defense. Openly hostile to all other rights encompassed in the Second Amendment. Opposes the right to bear (transport and carry) arms, opposes interstate recognition, supports unnecessary restrictions, and supports arms-restricting treaties.

Third Amendment

  • All candidates are assumed to support the right of every homeowner to be free from the quartering of soldiers in their home. This (along with the Seventh Amendment) is basically a freebie.

Fourth Amendment

  • Clinton (D): Supportive of protections against unreasonable search and seizure in principle, but fails to extend these rights to civil forfeiture or data security. Has not addressed implied consent laws, but they are generally supported by the Democratic Party. Clinton is inconsistent on warrantless domestic surveillance, sometimes supporting and sometimes opposing it.
  • Johnson (L): Johnson and the Libertarian Party are consistently supportive of the Fourth Amendment in its full breadth. Opposes civil forfeiture, supports data security, opposes domestic surveillance, and is likely to oppose implied consent laws.
  • Trump (R): Supportive of protections against unreasonable search and seizure in principle, but fails to extend these rights to civil forfeiture or data security, and explicitly supports warrantless domestic surveillance. Has not addressed implied consent laws, but they are generally supported by the Republican Party.
  • McMullin (I): Supportive of protections against unreasonable search and seizure in principle. Has not addressed civil forfeiture or implied consent laws, but they are generally supported by the Republican Party, which was McMullin’s affiliation before launching his independent bid.
  • Stein (G): Stein and the Green Party are consistently supportive of the Fourth Amendment in its full breadth. Opposes civil forfeiture, supports data security, opposes domestic surveillance, and is likely to oppose implied consent laws.

Fifth Amendment

  • Clinton (D): Supportive of due process, grand jury, and double-jeopardy rights in principle, but opposes robust protections against self incrimination and compelled incrimination in national security cases. Clinton also supports eminent domain abuse and the taking of property for private projects.
  • Johnson (L): Johnson and the Libertarian Party are consistently supportive of the Fifth Amendment in its full breadth. Supports protections against self incrimination and compelled incrimination, and opposes the use of eminent domain except for public purposes in very limited cases.
  • Trump (R): Supportive of due process, grand jury, and double-jeopardy rights in principle, but opposes robust protections against self incrimination in national security cases. Trump explicitly opposes protections against compelled incrimination, and supports eminent domain abuse and the taking of private property for non-public purposes.
  • McMullin (I): McMullin is generally supportive of the Fifth Amendment, however he supports the use of eminent domain for projects that will “benefit the community” and does not explicitly oppose its use for private projects.
  • Stein (G): Stein and the Green Party are consistently supportive of the Fifth Amendment in most cases. Supports protections against self incrimination and compelled incrimination. Stein opposes the use of eminent domain for private projects, but supports its relatively broad use for public projects.

Sixth Amendment

  • Clinton (D): Supportive of trial-by-jury and the right to counsel, but also supports civil forfeiture and broad civil regulations that presume guilt. Clinton has not addressed usurpation by misclassification or public trials, but the Democratic Party generally supports usurpation, and generally supports access to the courts by the press and public.
  • Johnson (L): Johnson and the Libertarian Party are consistently supportive of the Sixth Amendment in its full breadth. Supports a robust presumption of innocence. Johnson has not addressed usurpation by misclassification or public trials, but the Libertarian Party generally opposes usurpation and supports access to the courts by the press and public.
  • Trump (R): Like Clinton, supportive of trial-by-jury and the right to counsel, but also supports civil forfeiture and broad civil regulations that presume guilt. Trump has not addressed usurpation by misclassification or public trials, but the Republican Party generally supports usurpation (though less-so than the Democrats), and inconsistently supports access to the courts by the press and public.
  • McMullin (I): Supportive of trial-by-jury and the right to counsel, and also of a robust presumption of innocence. McMullin has not addressed usurpation by misclassification or public trials, but the Republican Party, which was McMullin’s affiliation before launching his independent bid, generally supports usurpation and inconsistently supports access to the courts by the press and public.
  • Stein (G): Stein and the Green Party are consistently supportive of the Sixth Amendment in its full breadth. Supports a robust presumption of innocence. Stein has not addressed usurpation by misclassification or public trials, but the Green Party generally opposes usurpation and supports access to the courts by the press and public.

Seventh Amendment

  • All candidates are assumed to support the right to a civil trial by jury and protections against the reexamination of facts. This (along with the Third Amendment) is basically a freebie.

Eighth Amendment

  • Clinton (D): Consistently opposes excessive or cruel punishment and torture, and supports the humane treatment of prisoners. Clinton, however, is a strong supporter of the death penalty.
  • Johnson (L): Johnson and the Libertarian Party are consistently supportive of the Eighth Amendment in its full breadth. Opposes excessive and cruel punishment, torture, and the death penalty, and supports humane treatment for prisoners.
  • Trump (R): Trump does not consistently support protections against excessive or cruel punishment and does not consistently support the humane treatment of prisoners. He explicitly supports torture and is a strong supporter of the death penalty.
  • McMullin (I): McMullin is consistently supportive of the Eighth Amendment in its full breadth. Opposes excessive and cruel punishment, torture, and the death penalty, and supports humane treatment for prisoners.
  • Stein (G): Stein and the Green Party are consistently supportive of the Eighth Amendment in its full breadth. Opposes excessive and cruel punishment, torture, and the death penalty, and supports humane treatment for prisoners.

Ninth Amendment

  • Clinton (D): Acknowledges the existence of other rights, and acknowledges the right to privacy, but denies or misunderstands the source of rights, denies the inalienable and predicate rights, and holds a broad view of government authority that concedes no presumption of liberty.
  • Johnson (L): Johnson and the Libertarian Party are consistently supportive of the Ninth Amendment. He loses a point because he denies that the right to life from conception to natural death is an inalienable and predicate right (he supports abortion up to the point of ‘viability’).
  • Trump (R): Acknowledges the existence of other rights, the source of rights, the existence and breadth of the inalienable and predicate rights, and the right to privacy. Trump loses a point on the presumption of liberty, as he supports a broad and active federal government that intervenes in local and personal matters.
  • McMullin (I): McMullin is consistently supportive of the Ninth Amendment. He acknowledges the source of rights, the inalienable and predicate rights, and the presumption of liberty.
  • Stein (G): Like Clinton, acknowledges the existence of other rights, and acknowledges the right to privacy, but denies or misunderstands the source of rights, denies the inalienable and predicate rights, and holds a broad view of government authority that concedes no presumption of liberty.

Tenth Amendment

  • Clinton (D): Consistently denies or ignores the entirety of the Tenth Amendment and does not acknowledge any apparent restrictions on federal authority.
  • Johnson (L): Johnson and the Libertarian Party are consistently supportive of the Tenth Amendment. He loses a point because neither he nor his party have explicitly supported a presumption of standing. It is still likely that a Libertarian will be more supportive of this than others, which is why he is still awarded one point on that question.
  • Trump (R): Consistently ignores the Tenth Amendment. The Republican Party typically claims to support limits on federal authority, but then violates those limits in practice. The Republican Party is, however, making some efforts to restrict the overuse of the interstate commerce clause.
  • McMullin (I): McMullin acknowledges the need to reduce the scope and breadth of government, but does not support a strict restriction to the enumerated powers. The Republican Party, which was McMullin’s affiliation before launching his independent bid, has begun making efforts to restrict the overuse of the interstate commerce clause.
  • Stein (G): Like Clinton, consistently denies or ignores the entirety of the Tenth Amendment and does not acknowledge any apparent restrictions on federal authority.

Changes

  • October 7, 2016: Added ratings for Evan McMullin, an independent candidate appearing on the Virginia ballot.
Scott Bradford has been building web sites and using them to say what he thinks since 1995, which tended to get him in trouble with power-tripping assistant principals at the time. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from George Mason University, but has spent most of his career (so far) working on public- and private-sector web sites. He is not a member of any political party, and brands himself an ‘independent constitutional conservative.’ In addition to holding down a day job and blogging about challenging subjects like politics, religion, and technology, Scott is also a devout Catholic, gun-owner, bike rider, and music lover with a wife, two cats, and a dog.