The words “chaos and bedlam” are now synonymous with January 6, 2021. Donald Trump’s lawyers are arguing if the U.S. Supreme Court gives permission to any state for its role in trying to remove the former president from the 2024 ballot. prevents the peaceful transfer of power. Trump’s right to return to the White House depends on a clause in the US Constitution that is far from a model of clarity. Here’s what he says, what he doesn’t say, and why it matters as the case progresses.
What does Section 3 of the 14th Amendment say?
Section 3 of the 14th Amendment contains a very long sentence outlining the circumstances under which someone may be disqualified from holding public office, but it raises many difficult questions that have remained unanswered in the more than 150 years since the amendment was enacted. It says:
“No person shall be an elector for Senator and Representative in Congress, President and Vice-President, or hold any civil or military office before sworn to in the United States or any State. As a member of Congress or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of the legislature of any state, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, shall engage in rebellion or sedition in support of the Constitution of the United States. the same, or given aid or comfort to his enemies. But Congress can remove such disability by a two-thirds vote in each House.”
English translation: If you took an oath to support the Constitution and violate that oath by joining the rebellion, then you cannot hold public office again. But section 3 is silent on whether the president or the presidency is included, whether it counts as rebellion, and who exactly carries it out.
The provision arose out of concern among the framers of the 14th Amendment that former Confederate leaders would be voted back into office. after the civil war. But there is enough legal confusion in the text itself, as well as a paucity of past cases to use as precedent, all of which have led to a hotly debated legal battle over Trump’s right to run for president again.
Where are things now?
The Supreme Court of Colorado a long decision ruled in December that the former president should be removed from the state primary ballot on all grounds possible under the 14th Amendment. No doubt aware that the ruling was controversial and would lead to an appeal, the state’s highest court stayed Trump’s removal from the state’s ballot, giving Trump time to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Trump currently remains on the Colorado ballot and elsewhere as the decision remains frozen pending a final decision by the judges. Maine officials are also trying to remove Trump from the state’s ballot, but they are also waiting for the Supreme Court’s decision in the Colorado case.
What arguments does Trump have to stay on the ballot?
Trump’s team has raised a number of different legal challenges to the Colorado ruling, but it primarily contends that:
Trump is not covered by the 14th Amendment’s ballot-cancellation clause at all because the president is not an “officer of the United States,” his actions prior to January 6 did not constitute “sedition or rebellion,” and only Congress can enforce the clause, not state courts.
These are likely to be some of the main issues that Supreme Court justices can decide once the case is at their feet, or they can focus on just one. It remains to be seen how deeply the Supreme Court decides to look into the merits of the case against the former president.
What happens if the Supreme Court rules in Trump’s favor?
It totally depends How Trump wins the case. If he prevails on any of the various legal arguments mentioned above, it’s all over and he’ll stay on the ballot. Some legal commentators have argued that the judges may decide they are free to detain Trump escape now in office but banned catch In re office citing the precise text of the 14th Amendment. However, such a ruling would simply slow down the road and force the high court to return to the issue if he wins the election in November.
What will happen if the Supreme Court rules against Trump?
If the Supreme Court agrees that states can legally exclude Trump from voting under the 14th Amendment, he will not be immediately disqualified in every state. Instead, the issue will come back to the individual states.
Colorado and Maine have indicated they will remove Trump from the ballot. But time is on Trump’s side. Barring a quick Supreme Court ruling that blocks Trump’s nomination, he will likely remain on the Republican primary ballot for Super Tuesday on March 5. A ruling against Trump could also potentially lead to more litigation and further appeals to the Supreme Court.