Top Democrat Says ‘Powerful Argument’ 14th Amendment Disqualifies Trump

Top Democrat Says ‘Powerful Argument’ 14th Amendment Disqualifies Trump – Democratic Senator Tim Kaine from Virginia has expressed the view that there is a “powerful argument” for disqualifying Donald Trump from participating in the 2024 presidential elections using the 14th Amendment. 

“In my view, the attack on the Capitol that day was designed for a particular purpose at a particular moment and that was to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power as is laid out in the constitution,” he said in an interview with ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. 

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“So I think there is a powerful argument to be made.” Kaine, who in 2016 ran for vice-president alongside Hillary Clinton, said that the “language is specific”, referring to the third section of the 14th amendment. “If you give aid and comfort to those who engage in an insurrection against the constitution of the United States, it doesn’t say against the United States, it says against the constitution.”

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According to the section, “no person shall be a[n] … elector of president and vice-president, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, 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.”

It adds that such a clause could be removed via a vote of two-thirds of each House. Speaking to Stephanopoulos, Kaine said that he discussed the section with colleagues at the time of Trump’s second impeachment. He said: “I thought actually it might have been a more productive way to go than the second impeachment to do a declaration under that section of the 14th amendment.”

Kaine is now part of an increasing group of legal scholars who seek to bar Trump from seeking public office once more through the 14th Amendment. An article penned by two conservative law professors, slated for publication in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, scrutinizes this clause in the context of Trump’s role in the 2020 election subversion efforts.

The article, written by constitutional scholars William Baude and Michael Stokes Paulsen, concludes: “Taking section 3 seriously means that its constitutional disqualifications from future state and federal officeholding extend to participants in the attempted overturning of the presidential election of 2020, including former president Donald Trump and others.”

Meanwhile, a similar article published last month in the Atlantic by retired conservative federal judge J Michael Luttig and Harvard law professor emeritus Laurence Tribe echoed similar sentiments. “The clause was designed to operate directly and immediately upon those who betray their oaths to the constitution, whether by taking up arms to overturn our government or by waging war on our government by attempting to overturn a presidential election through a bloodless coup,” wrote Luttig and Tribe.

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“The former president’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and the resulting attack on the US Capitol, place him squarely within the ambit of the disqualification clause, and he is therefore ineligible to serve as president ever again,” they added. The 14th amendment was also brought up during the Republican primary presidential debate last month by former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson.

“More people are understanding the importance of that, including conservative legal scholars, who say he may be disqualified under the 14th amendment from being president, again, as a result of the insurrection. This is something that could disqualify him, under our rules, and under the constitution,” Hutchinson said.

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