The highest court in the land on Monday declined to hear a case brought by a long-shot challenger to disqualify former President Donald Trump from the 2024 presidential election for his role in the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol Building.
John Anthony Castro, a little-known candidate now seeking the Republican nomination, had sued the former president earlier this year and desired to see him disqualified for running for president and holding the office “given the alleged provision of aid or comfort to the convicted criminals and insurrectionists that violently attack our United States Capitol on January 6, 2021.”
However, the case to the Supreme Court was denied without any comment or recorded vote.
Castro, a Texas tax consultant, had appealed to the high court after a lower court found that he had lacked the legal standing to sue seeking Trump’s disqualification under the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment.
Legal experts have suggested this may not be the final time that the Supreme Court is asked to weigh in on the subject of whether that provision in the United States Constitution could or should bar the former president from running for or holding, higher office.
Other litigation – including challenges against Trump in Minnesota and Colorado – related to the 14th Amendment, and specifically its Section 3, are still playing out in the lower courts. The section forbids the holding of office by former holders who then participated in insurrection or rebellion. It was written to specifically bar those who had taken up arms during the American Civil War from returning to Congress or other federal offices.
Beyond the Confederacy
Some legal experts have noted it is not limited to the American Civil War, nor was it repealed by any 19th-century amnesty legislation. Yet, it has only been applied twice since the late 1800s.
Castro is among several who do feel that its criteria would apply to Trump.
“The framers of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment specifically designed it to remove overwhelming popular pro-insurrectionists from the ballot. As such, Castro is not simply within the ‘zone’ of interests; Castro is the precise type of person that the framers of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment specifically sought to politically protect while Trump is the precise type of person they sought to disqualify,” Castro told the justices in court filings.
A federal judge in June dismissed Castro’s lawsuit, finding that he had failed to show a legal injury. That decision subsequently prompted Castro to appeal both to the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.
More to Come?
Castro is hardly anything close to a serious contender for the Republican nomination and has failed to meet the requirements to participate in any of the GOP debates. However, his campaign appears to be about blunting the chances of Trump returning to the White House.
Though the ruling on Monday may seriously impact Casto’s attempts for now to keep Trump off the ballot, this is unlikely to end the 14th Amendment debate.
There are those other legal challenges to disqualify Trump based on the 14th Amendment. That includes a Sept. 6 lawsuit filed by the nonpartisan group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which is trying to block Trump from appearing on the presidential ballot in Colorado if he wins the Republican nomination; while the Minnesota-based Free Speech For People is also seeking to bar the former president from the 2024 ballot.
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.