Prominent Democrats are advocating using the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to bar former President Donald Trump from participating in the 2024 presidential campaign. Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to issue a final ruling on the matter.
Section 3 of the 14th Amendment was established after the Civil War and states that individuals who participated in acts of “insurrection or rebellion” against the United States or provided “aid or comfort to the enemies thereof” are prohibited from holding public office. This provision was written in an effort to uphold loyalty to the country and prevent those who have participated in actions against it from holding positions of power.
During an interview with MSNBC on Sunday, Schiff emphasized the legitimacy of the 14th Amendment argument against former President Trump, stating that a conviction of insurrection is unnecessary. The engagement in these acts alone allows for disqualification from holding a public office, which, according to Schiff, perfectly aligns with Donald Trump’s actions.
Schiff believes the constitutional provision will be tested when the
secretary of state either refuses to include Trump on the ballot or includes him, prompting a legal challenge. He anticipates that such a case could eventually reach the Supreme Court, raising the crucial question of how the Court will respond. Schiff remarked that prominent legal scholars believe he should be disqualified. It remains unclear if the Court will act.
In a separate interview with ABC, Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.) echoed the sentiment that there is a strong case for excluding President Trump from the 2024 ballot based on his alleged involvement in attempts to overturn the peaceful transfer of power outlined in the Constitution. Kaine suggested that the matter will likely be resolved through legal proceedings.
Kaine criticized potential Republican presidential contenders for pledging support to Trump even if he faced criminal convictions, arguing that such a stance reflects a lack of moral compass for leading the nation.
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Sol Wisenberg criticized Democratic efforts to invoke the 14th Amendment as “hypocritical.” He questioned allowing state officials to unilaterally determine whether an individual, such as Trump, engaged in insurrection or rebellion without a proper trial or due process.
Schiff’s and Kaine’s comments coincide with dismissing a lawsuit seeking to disqualify Trump from the 2024 race under the 14th Amendment. The lawsuit, filed by Lawrence Caplan, a tax attorney from Florida, contended that Trump’s actions related to the U.S. Capitol assault made him ineligible for federal office.
According to the lawsuit filed in Florida, the actions of President Trump in Washington, Georgia, and other states, as well as the subsequent attack on the U.S. Capitol, place him at the heart of the disqualification clause. As a result, he is now ineligible to hold any federal office in the future. However, the lawsuit was dismissed by Judge Robin L. Rosenberg, who cited a lack of specific injury to bring a federal lawsuit against Trump.
Amid these attempts to prevent his candidacy, Trump warned of potential retaliation if Republicans regain power, asserting that the approach being taken by his opponents is damaging to the democratic process.
Legal expert Alan Dershowitz warned that such efforts pose a “grave danger to our constitution” as they could place the decision of presidential eligibility in the hands of state officials rather than the electorate.