There is a growing movement to utilize the U.S. Constitution to prevent former President Donald Trump from reelection. Section 3 of the 14th Amendment disqualifies anyone from holding office who has sworn an oath to support the Constitution and then engaged in insurrection.
The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) wrote: “This provision of the Constitution — also known as the disqualification clause — has successfully barred elected officials who engaged in insurrection from serving in office as recently as last year in New Mexico state court litigation.”
POGO points out that all three branches of government (legislative, executive, and judicial) have called the violent mob’s attack on the Capitol an insurrection.
Furthermore, POGO strongly advocates for using Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. “This provision can and should be used to hold former President Donald Trump accountable for his role in the January 6, 2021, insurrection.”
Americans watched in horror, crying as the battle to end democracy unfolded on TV sets and computer screens. Since then, discussions about using the 14th Amendment to punish Trump for his inexcusable actions have multiplied.
In the early stages of this discussion, scholars said that Trump would have to be convicted of insurrection before Section 3 of the 14th Amendment could be used. However, that was before the House Select Committee investigation into January 6th laid out its findings.
The bipartisan committee questioned alleged participants and victims live on public television. They presented a very compelling case during the 10 live hearings.
Last year, the House committee recommended that Trump be barred from holding future office under the 14th Amendment.
During the final December 19, 2022 hearing, the committee gave viewers an overview of the current investigative work.
They also recommended that Trump and others be referred from legal charges.
Since then, Trump has been indicted in four felony cases, two of which are related to the insurrection. One of those is the State of Georgia’s indictment of former president and 18 co-defendants on RICO charges concerning their attempts to overturn the state’s 2020 election.
Colorado and Minnesota 14th Amendment Cases
Two lawsuits have been brought using Section 3 of the 14th Amendment as the reason Colorado and Minnesota list in their petitions to keep Trump off of their ballots.
NOTE: The Colorado petitioners are Republicans, former Republicans, and unaffiliated voters eligible to cast Republican ballots in the state’s closed primary.
DC-based Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed the Colorado lawsuit on behalf of six of the state’s voters on September 6, 2023, in the District Court of the City and County of Denver, Colorado.
Former Republican State Senator Norma Anderson told KUSA 9 News that CREW had contacted her to be a local resident filing against Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold and Donald Trump.
Anderson also said that she knew what the CREW representative was talking about: “I have a little Constitution that sits by my desk where I sit at night. And I had it all marked up, so knew what it was,” Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.
On September 12, 2023, a Minnesota group, Free Speech For People, filed the second lawsuit seeking to keep Trump from the 2023 ballot. The case cited the 14th Amendment’s Section 3 on engaging in an insurrection.
Moreover, the petitioners’ filing stated that Trump “is disqualified from holding the presidency or any other office under the United States unless and until Congress provides him relief.”
“The third section of the 14th Amendment says 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.”
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
Project on Government Oversight: Routine Disqualification: Every State Has Kept Ineligible Candidates Off the Ballot, and Trump Could Be Next; By POGO Staff and CREW
KUSA 9 News: Lawsuit filed in Denver contends Constitution clause bars Trump from running again for president
Axios: Trump faces 14th Amendment lawsuit in Minnesota; By Erin Doherty
Featured and Top Image by Shealah Craighead for Trump White House Archives Courtesy of Flickr – Public Domain License
First Inset Image by Scottsdale Mint Courtesy of Unsplash
Second Inset Image by Brett Davis Courtesy of Flickr – Creative Commons License
Fourth Inset Image by Tingery Injury Law Firm Courtesy of Unsplash