State election officials are raising questions about whether the 14th Amendment can be used to stop former President Trump’s 2024 bid.
As Trump remains the GOP presidential frontruner after four indictments in four months, questions loom on whether his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election and his role in the Capitol riot are enough to disqualify him through the Civil War-era amendment.
Section 3 of the 14th Amendment states that no one should hold office in the U.S. if they “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the [U.S.], or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
“But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability,” the provision continues.
The qualification to appear on a ballot for state or federal office is a function of state law and undertaken by the state Secretaries of State.
As such, state courts – and possibly federal courts – may have a role to play here, per civil rights attorney Sherrilyn Ifill.
Advocacy group Free Speech For People, sent letters to election officials in Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, New Hampshire and New Mexico on Wednesday, asking them to use their authority to exclude Trump from the ballots.
They argued that under the 14th Amendment, Trump “is constitutionally ineligible to appear on any future ballot for federal office based on his engagement in insurrection against the United States.”
New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan, a Republican, said in a statement this week that while he hasn’t taken a position on the matter, he’s asked the state’s attorney general to advise him on the “provisions potential applicability to the upcoming presidential election cycle.”
The attorney general’s office is now “carefully reviewing the legal issues involved,” per the statement.
Meanwhile, in last week’s GOP presidential debate, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson brought up the amendment, saying: “More people are understanding the importance of that, including conservative legal scholars, who says [Trump] may be disqualified under the 14th Amendment from being president again as a result of the [Jan.6] insurrection.”