Numerous states are currently working to prevent former President Donald Trump from appearing on the 2024 ballot. This has caused the courts to face unfamiliar territory as they try to interpret a relatively unknown constitutional provision that was ratified in 1868.
Controversies in Colorado, Minnesota, and Michigan that have received a lot of attention have been rejected by judges in those states. However, individuals looking to remove Trump from the primary and general election ballots under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment are determined to keep fighting, leaving open the potential for the Supreme Court to get involved at each step of the process.
According to Eric Segall, a law professor at Georgia State University, the current situation is unfamiliar and highly uncertain. He believes that the outcomes in state court and the Supreme Court, as well as the methods being used, are not based on legal principles but rather on the creation of new laws.
Section 3 of the 14th Amendment prohibits individuals from holding office if they have previously taken an oath as a member of Congress or as an officer of the United States and participated in insurrection or rebellion against the Constitution.
The provision was put in place in 1868 after the Civil War to prevent previous Confederate officials from holding positions in state or federal government again. It was not widely remembered until the riot on January 6, 2021.
attack on the United States Capitol Building.
2020 pandemic, many businesses have been forced to adapt to a remote work model.
Due to the 2020 pandemic, numerous companies have had to adjust their operations to incorporate remote work.
During the event where a group of Trump’s followers entered the U.S. Capitol in an effort to prevent Congress from counting the state electoral votes, voters in Georgia and North Carolina claimed that GOP Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Madison Cawthorn were not qualified to run for reelection according to Section 3.
A judge specializing in administrative law in the state of Georgia has determined
There was insufficient evidence.
Greene was involved in an act of rebellion and should be disqualified from appearing on the ballot in that location.
Cawthorn’s loss in his initial election round
The challenge to his eligibility has concluded.
In New Mexico, a judge in the state court has determined that a commissioner in the county is subject to certain regulations.
I had to take it out.
Due to this individual’s post, they are currently prohibited from holding any federal or state position under Section 3..
According to Ron Fein, legal director of Free Speech For People, the recent cases involving Cawthron did not pertain to Trump, but they still established crucial legal precedent. Section 3, which has never been used against a former president, was invoked in the case brought by Free Speech For People against Cawthron.
Fein informed CBS News that these three elements are crucial foundations and examples that we consistently refer to in our case, as well as being referenced by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington in Colorado. These contribute to establishing the legal structure for our argument against Trump.
“Free Speech For People” has submitted legal complaints against Trump’s eligibility to run for president in Michigan and Minnesota, representing voters in those states. They are requesting that the courts prevent the secretaries of state from including Trump on the 2024 Republican primary and general election ballots.
Fein stated that it is unacceptable for our democracy to be manipulated by threats of violence from failed political candidates such as Trump. The framers of the 14th Amendment learned through the loss of countless lives that individuals who take an oath to uphold the Constitution and then betray it through insurrection pose a grave danger to public office. Allowing them to return to office would only result in similar or even more severe consequences.
The ongoing disputes
Lawsuits filed by citizens and organizations aiming to prevent Trump from running in 2024 have been filed in over half of the states. These cases, including ones that have been taken to court in Colorado, Michigan, and Minnesota, have been compiled by Lawfare.
A judge in Denver, Colorado stated in a ruling on Friday that Section 3
This does not pertain to Trump.
The judge, Sarah Wallace, mandated that Trump be included on the ballot for the presidential primary. In her 102-page ruling, she stated that Trump’s actions on January 6, 2021 amounted to incitement of insurrection and therefore qualified as “engaging” in insurrection as defined by Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment. This is the first instance where a court has made such a determination. However, she did not believe that Section 3 applied to the president as stated in the phrase “officers of the United States.”
has jurisdiction over all criminal and civil cases.
The highest court in Minnesota holds authority over both criminal and civil lawsuits.
dismissed a lawsuit
Attempting to prevent Trump from being included on the Republican primary ballot, citing it as an “internal party election for internal party objectives.” However, it was noted that Minnesota residents could continue their legal action after the March 5 primary in regards to the general election ballot.
A judge on the Michigan state Court of Claims.
The voters’ arguments in that region have been deemed a political matter, which currently prevents the courts from taking it into consideration. Therefore, the lawsuit has been dismissed.
On Friday, Michigan voters challenged the ruling and are requesting an urgent review by the Michigan Supreme Court. At the same time, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the group responsible for the Colorado lawsuit, stated that they will soon file an appeal with the Colorado Supreme Court.
Is it possible for it to reach the U.S. Supreme Court?
Legal experts and commentators have been discussing and debating whether the events on January 6th can be classified as an “insurrection,” if Trump’s actions could be considered insurrection, and if Section 3 includes the presidency.
According to Colorado judge Wallace’s ruling, it seems that the creators of Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment did not intend for the president to be considered “an officer of the United States.” As a result, the ruling states that this section does not apply to Trump.
Legal experts commonly believe that in the event that a state’s supreme court declares Trump ineligible for candidacy and demands his removal from the voting ballot, he will likely appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. This would place the highest court in the country at the forefront of a contentious matter during the 2024 election cycle.
Richard Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles and an expert in election law, stated that if certain jurisdictions begin to disqualify him, the Supreme Court must intervene. He added that his personal stance on this matter is for a definitive resolution.
There are various factors that could provide the Supreme Court with a way out of making a decision on the core of a case regarding Trump’s eligibility for office. However, Hasen emphasized the importance of a conclusive ruling from the justices for the benefit of the nation.
He expressed concern about the potential political consequences if this issue continues during the election, leaving voters uncertain about the eligibility of their chosen candidate.
What if Trump is not allowed to be on the ballot?
Legal analysts anticipated the possibility of Trump’s name being omitted from the ballot in one state due to a ruling that he is ineligible for office under Section 3, while still being included on the ballot in another state, since elections in the U.S. are overseen by individual states.
According to Press Millen, a trial lawyer who represented the voters opposing Cawthorn’s candidacy, it is highly uncommon for a major party candidate to not appear on the ballot. However, when considering less prominent races, it is not unusual at all.
In the 2012 Virginia Republican presidential primary, some candidates, including Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, and Jon Huntsman, were not listed on the ballot. This has also occurred in certain states during general elections, where third-party candidates like Kanye West were absent from the ballots, such as in Virginia, Arizona, and Wisconsin in 2020.
Fein stated that a state has a valid concern in removing an unqualified candidate from the ballot for the general election, if it needs to be addressed during that time.
He pointed out that it would be better for the matter of Trump’s eligibility to be addressed during the primary stage. This would allow GOP primary voters to select from candidates who are qualified to legally hold office.
If Trump is disqualified from appearing on the ballot in a state, he may choose to run as a write-in candidate, although the specific regulations for this vary depending on the state.
According to Fein, the main point is that even if he gained the most votes through a write-in campaign, he would still not be qualified to be included on the ballot for the general election. This method does not circumvent the Constitution’s requirements.