Self-pardon? It might not go how Trump thinks

“Those engaged in the originalist project, looking at history, would think about what they could have meant,” Ethan Leib, a law professor at Fordham University, said of the founders. “To be faithful to that meaning means not doing it just to engage in self-protection.”

However, a strictly literal, textualist interpretation of the Constitution might favor Trump, since advocates for limiting his power could be accused of inventing words not actually in the text.

Last June, Gorsuch surprised and disappointed many conservatives when he joined the court’s liberals and Chief Justice John Roberts in a literalist, textualist interpretation that found LGBT people are protected by existing, half-century-old law against sex discrimination in employment.