Donald Trump’s Latest Legal Battle Has Just Begun – Yesterday marked the commencement of a five-day hearing which could see Donald Trump removed from the ballot in next year’s presidential election.
It’s an unprecedented situation, especially given the argument’s relatively new emergence.
Following an academic paper by two conservative scholars in August, an unusual concoction of liberals and anti-Trump conservatives are filing lawsuits across the country, with the first being heard in Colorado.
The scope of the lawsuit involves the infrequently-used Section Three of the 14th Amendment, which effectively bans those who have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” from holding public office.
It’s already been used once in relation to the Capitol riots, with New Mexico county commissioner Couy Griffin removed from his post last year. However, a similar effort to bar Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was less futile, with judges ruling that she did not engage as she did not enter the Capitol building on January 6.
Critics of the Republican frontrunner say he was the “chief instigator” of the Capitol riots, thus he should be disqualified from the ballot. Conservative scholars William Baude and Michael Stokes Paulsen wrote in their August law review paper that Section Three is “self-executing, operating as an immediate disqualification from office, without the need for additional action by Congress.”
It is, of course, a disputed view. “Donald Trump is manifestly unfit to be president. But it’s up to voters to block him. Magic words from the past won’t save us,” wrote liberal professor Noah Feldman shortly after the paper’s release.
As one might expect, the former president is not enthusiastic about the prospect of being pulled from the ballot, with his campaign insisting that the challenge is “stretching the law beyond recognition.”
“He’s not planning to testify, he’s not giving deposition, and for someone who just loves to grandstand about the cases against him, his silence, compared to what his testimony would be under oath, is deafening,” said Colorado Secretary of State Jean Griswold earlier this week.
Colorado is the first hearing across the nation, with another set to begin on Thursday in Minnesota. Lawsuits have also been filed in New Hampshire and Michigan, two critical states for Trump’s path to 270, with more expected in the coming weeks.
The Colorado decision is expected before Thanksgiving following this week’s five-day hearing. In reality, however, a ruling against Trump will undoubtedly be appealed through to the U.S. Supreme Court. Conservatives control a 6-3 majority, and three Supreme Justices are Trump-appointees.
They have ruled against the former president previously, most notably his unevidenced claims of election interference following the 2020 presidential election; that said, one must wonder whether they will rule against the Republican frontrunner when such a decision will set the precedent for the rest of the nation.
Shay Bottomley is a British journalist based in Canada. He has written for the Western Standard, Maidenhead Advertiser, Slough Express, Windsor Express, Berkshire Live and Southend Echo, and has covered notable events including the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
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