The 14th Amendment Tactic Against Trump Is Gaining Traction

The political attacks are escalating to remove him from ballots completely.

Written by Jack Elbaum

What’s happening: Democrats are still pushing the legal theory that the Constitution disqualifies former President Donald Trump from holding office again because of the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot. A lawsuit from Colorado voters would make it a reality, keeping Trump off the ballot in their state, and officials in New Hampshire, Maine, and Michigan are considering the same tactic.

  • The law: The 14th Amendment says “no person” who has sworn an oath to the Constitution can hold public office if they “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

Why it matters: So far, attacks on Trump have been designed to cripple his campaign with legal and financial burdens. Now, the attacks are escalating to remove him from the ballots completely, an idea his enemies have proposed since January 2021.

Does the clause apply to Trump? It depends on who you ask. Politico notes that some argue Trump’s “efforts to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence to prevent the counting of electoral votes” fit the description of “insurrection or rebellion.”

  • At the same time: Others, such as Stanford Law School’s Michael McConnell, argue the clause should not apply so broadly, only for “the most serious of uprisings against the government.”

  • Who else?TheWall Street Journalagreed with the broadness critique, arguing this interpretation would easily be abused. The paper also warned that ousting Trump would cause backlash and “validate, in the eyes of his supporters, his claims that the election system is rigged and corrupt.”

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