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A Modest Memo


A Modest Memo is a satire in the form of a legal memo written for President-Elect Donald Trump circa November 2016. It counsels Mr. Trump to obtain Mexican funding for a United States-Mexico “Wall” via United Nations Security Council sanctions. These sanctions would freeze remittances (that is, “hold them hostage”) until Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto wired the United States sufficient monies for construction. The memo, which is entirely the product of my imagination and legal study, contemplates one of the many possible worst case scenarios threatened by the Trump presidency. Through the arts of law and literature, I aim to show how the rule of law may so easily buckle and splinter beneath the increasing tide of United States, as well as global, nationalism and racism. I take inspiration, of course, from Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal (1729), as well as the legal-literary experiments found in Derrick Bell’s Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism (1993) and Richard Delgado’s Storytelling for Oppositionists and Others: A Plea for Narrative, 87 Mich. L. Rev. 2411 (1989).