There are many reasons why most Americans do not want to see a twice-impeached, four-times impeached former president back on the ballot.
In recent weeks, an argument against Donald Trump’s tenure has moved from the pages of law reviews to the center of the national political discussion. This is not about whether Trump should or will be president again, but the more fundamental question of whether he is qualified to run.
If you are not ready with your constitutional amendments, neither will Trump and his allies. While the 14th Amendment is best known for its equal protection clause, the lesser-known insurrection clause states that any former official who has rebelled against the United States government is ineligible to hold office. elected office.
Legal scholars across the ideological spectrum support this argument. Last month, lawsuits to block Trump’s access to state ballots were filed in Colorado and Minnesota, with much anticipation. One of Trump’s fellow presidential hopefuls even brought it up in the first GOP debate.
The arguments against Trump’s disqualification fall into two general categories: pragmatic and legal. Pragmatists have completely rejected the constitutional requirement, largely due to Trump’s continued popularity with the GOP. The legal camp argued that the insurrection clause did not apply to Trump. Here’s a rundown of these common arguments, and why they’re wrong:
Lie. Candidates are often rejected for failure to meet the constitutional requirements for office. The Colorado case against Trump’s qualifications points out that people seeking to run for president have been rejected by election officials for failing to meet other requirements, such as being a natural-born citizen of the United States. United States.
Using the 14th Amendment specifically to disqualify a politician has also been done before. In 2022, a New Mexico court removed a county official from office for inciting the January 6 insurrection and barred him from future office under the 14th Amendment.
It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how popular Trump is, whether he’s a former president, or whether he’s a front-runner. If he is disqualified from the ballot, then that takes precedence over any considerations about his popularity as a candidate, such as whether he is under 35 or not a US citizen.
A more dangerous step is to ignore his actions for fear of his retaliation. Trump already thinks he can do whatever he wants with impunity, a belief that creates the unbridled Trump we all know. We cannot afford to adapt the implementation of the Constitution to do this.
It doesn’t matter. Legal scholars say that this clause of the 14th Amendment is “self-executing,” meaning that Congress does not have to pass a law declaring something to be an insurrection, and no courts should convict a person of insurrection. Instead, it applies “directly and immediately to those who betray their oaths to the Constitution,” according to Harvard Constitutional Law Professor Emeritus Laurence Tribe and former US federal judge J. Michael Luttig. And the January 6 Select Committee Report provided ample evidence confirming Trump’s leading role in the uprising.
The amendment does not appear to include “any office . . . under the United States.” You don’t need a law degree to understand that the presidency is an office under the United States.
Trump’s actions have upended our system of government. His failed coup attempt had real consequences: Five people died, and confidence in American democracy was shaken across the country and around the world. And while Trump’s decades of impunity as a corrupt business magnate might suggest otherwise, his actions have consequences for him as well.
When Trump tried to overthrow the government, he disqualified himself from holding office – not only morally, but constitutionally as well.