Hawaii Senate committee advances bill to force state's 'chief elections officer' to remove Trump from ballot under 14th Amendment 'insurrection' clause

 February 8, 2024

Former President Donald Trump's political opponents, with only limited success, have sought to force the courts and election officials in dozens of states to remove him from their respective ballots as disqualified to hold office under the auspices of the "insurrection" clause in Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Now Democratic lawmakers in Hawaii have just pushed a bill through its State Senate Judiciary Committee that is unmistakably aimed at legislatively barring Trump from appearing on the state's general election ballot in November, Fox News reported.

The bill, if it passes a full floor vote in the state Senate and is similarly approved by the Hawaii House, would establish a new process by which the state's chief elections official would be required to prohibit from the ballot any candidate deemed disqualified for having "engaged in insurrection" under the 14th Amendment's third section.

"This is tyrannical, to say the least"

HawaiiNewsNow reported that the Senate committee voted 3-2 on Tuesday to advance to a full floor vote a bill that would presumably require the state's chief elections official to remove former President Trump from November's general election ballot -- if he was determined to have "engaged in insurrection" under the 14th Amendment.

That vote followed a public hearing in which more than 300 people testified in opposition to the proposal compared to just 20 who spoke favorably in support of the measure.

One of the outspoken opponents, Hawaii Federation of Republican Women President Jaime Detwiler, told the committee, "This is tyrannical, to say the least," and added of the former president to cheers from the largely pro-Trump crowd, "He has not been convicted nor has he been charged with insurrection. There is no evidence of committing insurrection so please don’t waste our time on this poorly written piece of legislation."

"We all know what this bill is about"

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that while the bill proposed by Democratic State Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Karl Rhoads does not specifically name former President Trump, there is little doubt that he is the primary target in mind in terms of what the legislation would do if passed.

Indeed, one of the bill's critics at the hearing, Alexandria Lum, told everyone in attendance, "We all know what this bill is about, and it’s about one person in particular."

The outlet noted that Rhoads said after the hearing that the proposal would apply to all political candidates and observed that Trump "has been indicted for his activities on Jan. 6 and leading up to it, so it’s hard to ignore the elephant in the room," but then added, "If Joe Biden participates in an insurrection, it would apply to him, too."

Language of Democratic legislation clearly written with Trump in mind

The bill, known as SB2392, is intended to "Specify that election ballots issued by the chief election officer or county clerk shall exclude any candidate who is disqualified by: (A)  Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States; (B)  Article XVI, section 3, of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii; or (C)  Another constitutional or statutory provision."

The legislation would also "Prohibit electors of presidential and vice presidential candidates from voting for any presidential or vice presidential nominee who has been disqualified pursuant to Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, as determined by any federal court, or as determined by the state supreme court in an election contest."

The proposal further includes multiple amendments to the text of several relevant state statutes, including the insertion of an entirely new section for one particular statute, that adds language specific to Section 3 of the 14th Amendment and establishes a process by which a candidate deemed disqualified "shall" be barred from appearing on the ballot.

Trump and his campaign have previously spoken in opposition to ballot removal efforts

It does not appear that former President Trump or his campaign have made any public mention yet of the ballot removal process bill under consideration by Hawaii's Democrat-controlled state legislature.

However, both Trump and his campaign have been justifiably outspoken in their opposition to similar removal efforts launched by activists in other states through lawsuits and petitions, and it is likely that the Hawaii legislation will likewise be thoroughly rebuked if it advances any further beyond the committee vote.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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