Conservatives are expressing concern over a proposal by some on the left and within the Republican party to use the Fourteenth Amendment to bar former President Donald Trump from running for president in 2024.
Proponents of this idea have pointed to its clause prohibiting ‘insurrectionists’ from holding public office, claiming that it should be applied to Mr. Trump as punishment for his involvement with the Capitol Hill riot in January.
Such an interpretation of the Amendment could open up a wide range of legal ramifications and set a dangerous precedent.
The theory has been put forward by conservative opponents of President Trump, such as Harvard professor Laurence Tribe and former Justice Department official Michael J. Luttig, who recently collaborated on an article published in The Atlantic defending the argument.
“The former president’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and the resulting attack on the U.S. Capitol, place him squarely within the ambit of the disqualification clause, and he is, therefore, ineligible to serve as president ever again,” they wrote.
Two law professors from the conservative Federalist Society, William Baude and Michael Stokes Paulsen, have recently argued in an article for the University of Pennsylvania Law Review that the ‘insurrection’ theory has merit.
Asa Hutchinson, a Republican candidate in the 2024 primary, also voiced his support for this idea during a CNN interview over the weekend.
There is a glaring issue with the current theory: Donald Trump has not been convicted or formally accused of insurrection in any of the four criminal cases he faces, including the case in Washington that is ostensibly about January 6th.
In this case, Trump faces charges of conspiring to “overturn” the 2020 election, however, prosecutor Jack Smith does not allege that Trump engaged in insurrection, sedition or any similar action.
“The reason” Trump wasn’t charged with incitement “is obvious,” conservative law professor Jonathan Turley wrote in a column.
“The evidence and constitutional standards would not have supported a charge of incitement or insurrection,” he wrote.
Turley dismissed the 14th Amendment theory as a “legal urban legend,” arguing there is nothing to clearly distinguish January 6th from previous efforts by Democrats to challenge election results.
“That leaves us with the argument that any effort to stop a constitutional process is akin to an insurrection or rebellion under the 14th Amendment. If that were the standard, any protests — including the anti-Trump protests and the certification challenges to electoral votes in 2016 — could also be cited as disqualifying,” he wrote.
Trump’s opponents have cause for concern: despite their unprecedented push to see him behind bars, Trump remains in contention with, or even ahead of, Biden in the polls.
A conviction would not necessarily preclude Trump from holding office; thus, a more drastic measure may be necessary if his adversaries are to prevent him from being re-elected.
Disqualifying Trump from the ballot would be the only way to ensure that the American people cannot ultimately decide to keep him as their president.
Imagine that? Letting the people choose their own leaders.
Democrats want to “save democracy” by having their political opponent jailed or even removed from the ballot altogether. This thuggish scheme must not succeed, or America as we know it is finished.