Dems Trying to Remove Trump from Ballot
The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1868, was designed to ensure equal protection and due process for all citizens. It includes a “disqualification clause” that prohibits individuals who have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the government from holding office. Critics of Trump argue that his involvement in the events leading up to the January 6 Capitol attack falls within the scope of this clause, making him ineligible to run for president again.
Lawrence Caplan, a Florida tax attorney, filed the first challenge to Trump’s candidacy based on the 14th Amendment’s disqualification clause. Caplan pointed to Trump’s grand jury indictments related to election interference and alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election as evidence of his disqualification. In his filing, Caplan argued that Trump both engaged in insurrection and provided aid and comfort to those involved in the attack, as defined by Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Two legal professors and members of the conservative Federalist Society, William Baude and Michael Stokes Paulsen, support the idea that the disqualification clause of the 14th Amendment is “self-executing.” They argue that if any government official knowingly participated in the insurrection of January 6 or supported those involved in a broader rebellion against the constitutional system, they are constitutionally disqualified from holding office. Baude and Paulsen maintain that Section Three’s disqualifications should be enforced in such situations.
This endorsement adds weight to the arguments put forth by those seeking to disqualify Trump from the 2024 election. However, there are differing opinions on the interpretation and application of the 14th Amendment’s disqualification clause.
Despite the growing support for disqualifying Trump from the 2024 election, there are those who warn against using the 14th Amendment as a means to bar him from the ballot. Harvard Law School Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz argues that such an approach puts the decision about the presidency in the hands of local Secretaries of State and Democratic governors, rather than the people. Dershowitz raises concerns about the potential danger to the Constitution if the disqualification clause is used in this manner.
Constitutional law attorney and former Trump ally Jenna Ellis dismisses the idea of using the 14th Amendment to challenge Trump’s eligibility. Ellis claims that calling the January 6 events an “insurrection” is a baseless characterization and likens it to baselessly labeling election challenges as “racketeering” to justify a RICO charge. Fox News host Mark Levin also criticizes the arguments put forth by legal scholars Laurence Tribe and J. Michael Luttig, calling their claims self-humiliating and misguided.
Efforts to disqualify Trump from the 2024 ballot have gained traction in various states. Civil rights organizations, including Mi Familia Vota and Free Speech for People, have launched campaigns in Nevada, California, Oregon, Colorado, and Georgia to pressure state officials to disqualify Trump based on the 14th Amendment. These campaigns aim to prevent Trump from appearing on the ballots in these states.
Bryant “Corky” Messner, a former New Hampshire U.S. Senate candidate and previously endorsed by Trump, has also announced plans to materialize the disqualification of the former president at the state level. These state-level initiatives further highlight the growing momentum behind the movement to bar Trump from the 2024 election.
In anticipation of potential legal challenges, Trump’s campaign team has spoken out against the efforts to disqualify him. They argue that these campaigns amount to election interference and tampering, accusing the organizations behind them of depriving the American people of the opportunity to choose Trump as their president.