Trump, Tariffs, and Trade

March 15, 2018


Over the past few months, President Trump has announced new tariffs on imported goods from solar panels and washing machines to steel and aluminum. He has also taken swift executive action to block international mergers that he has deemed harmful to U.S. interests from occurring, and has even said he would consider withdrawing from NAFTA and related trade agreements. President Trump’s protectionist policies are a reversal of mostly free-trade orientated policies of past administrations, and his actions raise important constitutional questions about the extent of executive power over trade policy, separation of powers and the non-delegation doctrine, as well as the future of U.S. and global trade.        



Steve Charnovitz is Associate Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School. He is a member of both the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Law Institute, and the author of many publications including The Path of World Trade Law in the 21st Century.

Timothy Meyer is a Professor of Law at Vanderbilt Law School. He is an expert in public international law, with an emphasis on international economic and energy law. He previously worked as a Legal Advisor for the Department of State, and clerked for now-Justice Neil Gorsuch while he was on the 10th Circuit.


Jeffrey Rosen is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Constitution Center, the only institution in America chartered by Congress “to disseminate information about the United States Constitution on a nonpartisan basis.” He is also a professor at The George Washington University Law School, and a contributing editor for The Atlantic. 

Related Decisions and Documents

Additional Resources

Our Interactive Constitution is the leading digital resource about the debates and text behind the greatest vision of human freedom in history, the U.S. Constitution. Here, scholars from across the legal and philosophical spectrum interact with each other to explore the meaning of each provision of our founding document. 

Common Interpretations

Article I, Section 1: General Principles by William N. Eskridge, Jr. and Neomi Rao

Article I, Section 7 by Nicholas Bagley and Thomas A. Smith

The Taxing Clause by Neil S. Siegel and Steven J. Willis

The Sixteenth Amendment by Joseph R. Fishkin, William E. Forbath, and Erik M. Jensen


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