The Donald Trump disqualification push gets some qualified support in Congress: The idea that the former president, Donald Trump, due to his participation in the January 6 insurrection, could be disqualified from office began with a law review article by a pair of conservative law professors. Now, senators are listening to the argument.
See Ya, Donald Trump?
About a month ago, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review published an article from a pair of conservative law professors, arguing that former President Donald Trump, under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment, should be disqualified from running for president.
That’s one of the amendments that was ratified after the Civil War and was meant to prevent former members of the Confederacy from holding elected office. According to the University of Chicago’s William Maude and Michael Stokes Paulsen of the University of St. Thomas School of Law, that should apply to Trump, following January 6.
Per CNN, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) appeared on television over the weekend and stated that “there’s a powerful argument to be made” that Trump should be disqualified.
“My sense is it’s probably going to get resolved in the courts,” Kaine added, noting that Democrats should be concentrating on winning the election in more traditional ways.
“The language (of the amendment) is specific: If you give aid and comfort to those who engage in an insurrection against the Constitution of the United States — it doesn’t say against the United States, it says against the Constitution. In my view, the attack on the Capitol that day was designed for a particular purpose … and that was to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power as is laid out in the Constitution,” Kaine, who was the Democratic nominee for vice president in 2016, said on ABC.
Kaine also said that he and his colleagues, during the second impeachment of Trump after January 6, had considered invoking the 14th Amendment.
Removing Trump from ballots, however, would not be something that Congress does, but rather would be undertaken by secretaries of state in different states. And, as Kaine said, if the issue is pushed it is likely to end up in the courts. A liberal nonprofit, called Free Speech for People, has written letters to secretaries of state in several states, asking them to remove Trump from their election ballots.
Another Democrat in Congress, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), said on MSNBC over the weekend that there is a “valid argument” for removing Trump from the 2024 ballot.
“The framers of the 14th Amendment learned the bloody lesson that, once an oath-breaking insurrectionist engages in insurrection, they can’t be trusted to return to power,” Ron Fein, the group’s legal director, told PBS.
“If you engage in acts of insurrection or rebellion against the government, or you give aid and comfort to those who do, you are disqualified from running,” Schiff said on MSNBC.
In New Hampshire, which is the first primary state, a former Senate candidate has requested a review by New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan of whether Trump is eligible for the ballot. Similar things have happened in other states, although a story that California Gov. Gavin Newsom was attempting to remove Trump from that state’s ballot turned out not to be true.
Trump himself, meanwhile, weighed in on the question on Truth Social over the weekend.
“Almost all legal scholars have voiced opinions that the 14th Amendment has no legal basis or standing relative to the upcoming 2024 Presidential Election,” the former president said. “Like Election Interference, it is just another ‘trick’ being used by the Radical Left Communists, Marxists, and Fascists, to again steal an Election that their candidate, the WORST, MOST INCOMPETENT, & MOST CORRUPT President in U.S. history, is incapable of winning in a Free and Fair Election. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
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Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) at @StephenSilver.
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