Several states attempt to use the Constitution to keep Trump off of the 2024 ballot

 October 7, 2023

Several states are currently trying to use the U.S. Constitution and the American legal system to keep former President Donald Trump off of the 2024 general election ballot. 

Colorado got things underway, and, Minnesota, according to CBS News, is following suit.

"Following a civil case initiated in Colorado early in September and serving as a forerunner for similar thrusts taken in other Trump-hostile jurisdictions, a legal proceeding was initiated here in the Twin Cities shortly after Labor Day seeking to prevent the 45th president from becoming the 47th," The Minnesota Post reports.

The outlet continues, "It asks to bar Steve Simon, Minnesota’s secretary of state, from placing the former president on the ballot for the upcoming Republican primary in March and the election next November, if he is endorsed by the Republican Party."

The argument:

It is based on Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The provision, in relevant part, states:

No person shall . . . hold any office, civil or military, under the United States . . . who, having previously taken an oath . . . to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.

The argument is that Trump did take such an oath when he became president and that he did "engage in insurrection" with the events of Jan. 6, 2021.

Does this argument really hold any water?

According to legal experts - at least the ones who are not rabidly anti-Trump - no, this argument does not hold any water. And, this is why many states are hesitating to use it.

Renowned defense attorney Alan Dershowitz - a Democrat who does not support Trump - has explained why this argument does not hold any water.

Dershowitz writes:

A fair reading of the text and history of the 14th Amendment makes it relatively clear, however, that the disability provision was intended to apply to those who served the Confederacy during the Civil War. It wasn’t intended as a general provision empowering one party to disqualify the leading candidate of the other party in any future elections.

Not only that, but Dershowitz has also pointed out that the idea that Trump or his supporters engaged in an insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, is just nonsensical as nothing that they did meets the definition of an insurrection.

Looking forward

Despite the weakness of their argument, some - like Colorado and Minnesota - are still going to try to use the Fourteenth Amendment to disqualify Trump. They are just that desperate.

It, thus, seems inevitable that, at some point, the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court will be asked to weigh in on the matter.

With the court's current conservative majority, it seems highly unlikely that the attempt to keep Trump off of the 2024 ballot - using the Fourteenth Amendment - will succeed.

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