Former President Donald Trump’s political enemies have tried to keep him from serving as president via false charges, impeachments, indictments and now, a move to disqualify him from appearing on the 2024 presidential ballot.
Experts warn the latest move has a low probability for success and a high probability of being politically dangerous for the future of our democracy.
Those wanting to see the former president deemed ineligible to be on a ballot point to Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to make support for their case.
The Disqualifications Clause in the 14th Amendment prohibits individuals from holding office if they “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the United States or supported those who engaged in an insurrection.
Trump opponents charge that the former president is disqualified from holding office due to his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, protest and breach of the Capitol.
According to a report in Fox News, multiple legal experts state the high court will not allow the Disqualifications Clause argument to be used to prohibit Trump from running for office.
Jonathan Turley, a Fox News legal analyst and George Washington University law professor, stated that though there “are good faith arguments in favor of this claim,” attempting to use the 14th Amendment to prohibit Trump from running for office is “not simply dubious but dangerous.”
Turley has publicly criticized Trump’s comments and actions surrounding Jan. 6 events, but explained: “The amendment was written to deal with those who engage in an actual rebellion causing hundreds of thousands of deaths.”
Turley continued. “Advocates would extend the reference to ‘insurrection or rebellion’ to include unsupported claims and challenges involving election fraud.”
Noting that Trump has not been found guilty of insurrection or incitement to rebellion, he added, “According to these advocates, Trump can be barred from the ballot without any charge, let alone a conviction, of insurrection or rebellion,” Turley said.
The legal expert suggests such a move would set a dangerous legal precedent.
Turley also noted that those supporting use of the Disqualification Clause “argue that there is no action needed from Congress” and thus, “state and federal judges could just bar those who are deemed as supporting rebellion through their election challenges and claims.”
Turley’s views were echoed by Heritage Foundation senior legal fellow Hans von Spakovsky who told Fox News Digital that in his opinion, there are no legal grounds to keep Trump off the ballot via the 14th Amendment.
Citing congressional votes in 1872 and 1898, von Spakovsky argues that “Congress passed a second amnesty act that completely got rid of all of those exceptions. [Therefore], the Disqualification Clause, it’s gone. It’s not valid anymore.”
Not everyone agrees. attorney Laurence Tribe posted his view that Trump should be barred from running.
Michael Sozan, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, said, “Following the plain language of the Constitution, Donald Trump and other officials who were involved in the January 6 insurrection are disqualified from holding future public office.”
Sozan added: “There are multiple paths to formally carry out Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. The most straightforward way is for state election officials to disqualify Trump from appearing on their state’s ballot. No doubt, this will be challenged in court — but if Supreme Court justices are serious about applying the Constitution’s plain words, they will agree with the disqualification.”
The Hill reported that Adrian Fontes, Secretary of State for Arizona said during a recent podcast that the State Supreme Court ruled, “There’s no statutory process in federal law to enforce Section 3 of the 14th amendment” and that “you can’t enforce it.”
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