Trump & Constitutional Amendment 14, Section 3, J.P. Jefferson Posting
Trump & Constitutional Amendment 14, Section 3
Should Donald Trump be on the ballot in 2024? Now before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), appealed from the recent 4-3 decision of the Colorado Supreme Court. I’m pretty sure that the Trump-loaded SCOTUS will find some bizarre interpretation of the obvious and allow the 4-time indicted, twice-impeached former President, with 91 criminal charges to run again. I also think it is fascinating that the two leading challengers to Trump’s GOP campaign — Haley & DeSantis — are both saying that we should let the people decide, rather than following the law. What a new and innovative way to handle high-level legal matters in this country.
Anyway, Constitutional Amendment 14, Section 3 (14-3), couldn’t be clearer, and the intent of the Congressional drafters is also clear (discussed in the Colorado decision). We’ve known about 14-3 and the potential legal chaos it would cause if it wasn’t resolved before the 2024 election. I was one of the many people who called for this issue to be addressed and dealt with months and months ago. And, it’s clear that a resolution can only be made by a decision of SCOTUS. However, in typical American government fashion, advance planning is rarely on the agenda, and as predicted we are now in the middle of an active Presidential campaign, and a legal nightmare threatening the fabric of our sacred U.S. election process. Had this been resolved before the presidential campaign much of this legal drama could have been avoided.
Following the Civil War, Congress decided that they didn’t want persons, who had previously taken an oath to support the Constitution, but who wanted to overthrow the government, shouldn’t be able to run for public office. They enacted the 14th Amendment, Section 3 as a new restriction/requirement in order to run for any public office. It all makes perfect sense. Why would you want to allow someone to run for office who took an oath to support the Constitution, but had been active in trying to overthrow the government OR to someone who assisted (“aid or comfort”) to those who tried to overthrow the government?
Even though the language and intent seem obvious, the drafters even provided a method to provide relief from the new requirement in case there might be some extreme extenuating circumstances. It had to be an extreme exception; that is why the tough, 2/3rd vote of Congress to exempt it, was required. So Congress could exempt Trump from the requirement and end the entire argument right now.
While it all seems straightforward, the legal beagles, fly-specking the language have come up with two major concerns. (1) is the Presidency really a “civil or military” “office,” and, (2) did Trump participate OR provide “aid or comfort” in an “insurrection” even though he has not yet been convicted?
On the first question, it’s hard to believe that the drafters would specify “a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold ANY office, civil or military” and not intend to include the President of the United States. Even if you could stretch your legal imagination to conclude that the “presidency” is not a public office; you would also have to determine the “Commander in Chief” is not the highest “office” in the U.S. “military.” You would also have to ask yourself, why the drafters wouldn’t want a Senator or Representative, etc. OR “an officer of the United States” to run for public office, but it would be fine to run for the presidency.
On the second question, while I don’t agree, I would say you can argue legally about whether Trump, “engaged in insurrection or rebellion,” since he has not yet been convicted; however, I think it is irrefutable that he provided “aid or comfort to the enemies” of the country. At the Washington DC Ellipse on January 6, 2021, there can be no question that Trump incited & encouraged radicals who have now been convicted & are serving time for seditious conspiracy and have been determined to be enemies of the state. Since then, Trump has continued his “aid or comfort” saying, if elected, he will pardon many of the enemies.
So, bottom line, it’s the Constitution, the language and intent seem clear; you have to follow it; amend it; or throw it out! What’s the precedent for other sections?