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Foes using 14th Amendment to try to derail Trump’s 2024 presidential bid
By Richard Brown // Sep 14, 2023

Calls are growing to block Donald Trump from running for president in 2024, with allegations that his actions on Jan. 6, 2021, violated his constitutional oath.

Advocacy groups and individuals are attempting to have Trump's name removed from state ballots, claiming he violated Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which disqualifies from running for office again the individuals who "engaged in insurrection or rebellion" after taking an oath to support and protect the Constitution.

Secretaries of state, who often decide a candidate's eligibility to run for president, have also faced calls to block Trump from the ballots due to allegations of his involvement in an insurrection attempt. The former president, however, denies any wrongdoing and dismisses these efforts as a "trick" to hinder his chances in the 2024 election.

The interpretation and enforcement of the 14th Amendment's disqualification clause have sparked significant debate, with legal scholars offering varying opinions. Any move to bar Trump from running would likely face legal challenges and possibly involve the Supreme Court.

States like Colorado, New Hampshire, Michigan and Arizona have seen or are considering actions to have Trump disqualified from running for office under the 14th Amendment. These cases face various legal complexities, and the outcome remains uncertain.

The 14th Amendment, ratified after the Civil War, contains a rarely invoked "disqualification clause" that can disqualify individuals from public office if they engaged in insurrection or rebellion. Critics argue that Trump's actions related to overturning the 2020 election qualify as insurrection under this clause.

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Enforcing Section 3 has been rare in history, but it has been used more recently to remove certain officials from public office. The issue of enforcing the 14th Amendment to disqualify Trump from running for president in 2024 remains contentious and could lead to further legal battles.

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment

The 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868 after the Civil War to address various aspects of the conflict. While it is mostly known for ensuring equal protection under the law, it also includes the "disqualification clause" in Section 3. This clause was originally aimed at preventing former Confederate leaders from holding public office after rebelling against the U.S. government. It disqualifies individuals who took an oath to support the Constitution but later "engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same" or provided "aid or comfort to the enemies thereof."

After losing the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden, Trump allegedly made claims about widespread election fraud and sought various means to overturn the election results. He was also accused of pressuring officials, including then-Vice President Mike Pence, to intervene on his behalf.

On Jan. 6, 2021, a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol during the Electoral College vote count, aiming to prevent the certification of the election results. (Related: It was Pelosi: Former Capitol Police Chief reveals 'set up' behind January 6.)

Proponents of using Section 3 argue that Trump's multi-faceted efforts to thwart the election, as well as his inflammatory rhetoric, constituted an insurrection. They point to his attempts to undermine the electoral process and the violence that ensued at the Capitol as evidence that he engaged in insurrection.

Trump has been indicted on multiple charges related to his efforts to overturn the election, though these criminal cases are separate from the 14th Amendment disqualification.

The application of Section 3 has sparked a legal debate, with scholars offering differing opinions. Some legal experts believe that Trump's actions meet the criteria for insurrection outlined in the clause, while others argue that it is a complex and unprecedented issue.

The enforcement of Section 3 is not clearly defined in the Constitution. State election officials theoretically have the power to reject Trump's candidacy based on this clause. However, this would likely lead to extensive legal challenges and court battles.

Trump has vowed to fight any attempts to disqualify him from running for president.

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