The GOP Has a Serious Problem – Donald Trump Can’t Win If He Can Run for Office: The New York Times, the paper of record, is asking the question on the mind of many Americans: ‘Is Trump Disqualified?’
Short answer: probably not.
But the theory will be tested in the nation’s first primary state, New Hampshire, where the untested legal theory – that the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution bars Trump from the ballot – is being tested.
“A long-shot presidential candidate has filed a lawsuit in state court seeking an injunction to keep Mr. Trump off the ballot. And a former Republican candidate for Senate is urging the secretary of state to bring a case that could put the issue before the U.S. Supreme Court,” The Times reported.
Donald Trump Getting Challenged in Several States
The effort may not be limited to just New Hampshire.
Earlier this week, a liberal-leaning group called Free Speech for the People, sent letters to secretaries of state in New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio, and New Mexico.
The gist of the letter? Please use the 14th Amendment to bar Trump from appearing on the ballot.
“These efforts employ a theory that has been gaining traction among liberals and anti-Trump conservatives: that Mr. Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, 2021, disqualify him under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bars people from holding office if they took an oath to support the Constitution and later “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof,” The Times reported.
But the 14th Amendment theory is a long-shot.
Even if a secretary of state went so far as to remove Donald Trump’s name from the ballot, Trump would pour his considerable resources into legally appealing the decision.
If Trump did not receive favorable rulings in the lower courts, he would appeal to the Supreme Court, where his case would come before a conservative majority.
“When it gets to the Supreme Court, as it surely will, this will test the dedication of the justices to principles of law, more than almost anything has for a very long time,” said constitutional law professor, Laurence H. Tribe, who believes the 14th amendment does disqualify Trump, “because they will obviously realize that telling the leading candidate of one major political party, ‘no, no way, you’re not eligible’ is no small matter,” The Times reported.
The justices, three of whom Trump appointed, may not see the case as cut and dry as Mr. Tribe.
But if nothing else, the justices are apt to appreciate how consequential their decision will be. If the justices ruled that the 14th Amendment did not disqualify Trump, then the justices would be accused of being Trump lackeys. On the other hand, if the judges ruled that Donald Trump was disqualified, then nearly half the country would scream ‘corruption!’
But first the 14th Amendment disqualification theory will need to get to the Supreme Court. Meaning the conditions for a legal fight will need to manifest. New Hampshire looks to be the early frontrunner, with the most fertile soil for a legal challenge. New Hampshire Republicans have vowed to fight any effort to remove Trump from the ballot.
“There’s no question that we will fight, and we’ll use all of the tools available to us to fight anyone’s access being denied on the ballot,” said New Hampshire state committeeman Chris Ager, a Republican. “And if there’s a lawsuit, we are likely to intervene on behalf of the candidate to make sure that they have access. So we take it very seriously that the people of New Hampshire should decide who the nominee is, not a judge, not a justice system.”
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor and opinion writer at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.
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