The congressional Democrats have a plan to disqualify former President Donald Trump from re-entering the White House.
They’re not impeaching him, convicting him, invoking the 25th Amendment, or strategizing to beat him in an election. Rather, they’re pursuing disqualification, and they’re looking toward a little-known section of the Fourteenth Amendment.
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Under Fourteenth Amendment, Congress can disqualify any insurrectionist from seeking the presidency.
“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or 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,” the Constitution says.
“But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”
So, the House Democrats introduced a bill to classify Trump as an insurrectionist.
“Donald Trump very clearly engaged in an insurrection on January 6, 2021 with the intention of overturning the lawful and fair results of the 2020 election,” Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., said in a statement. “You don’t get to lead a government you tried to destroy.”
As far back as last year, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asking her colleagues for their opinions on using the Fourteenth Amendment to disqualify Trump, ABC News reported at the time.
“Congress finds the following,” the Democrat-written 28-page bill says.
“Mr. Donald J. Trump did engage in insurrection against the United States by mobilizing, inciting, and aiding those who attacked the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, to disrupt certification of the 2020 Presidential Election as required by the Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution and the Electoral Count Act of 1887… A majority of both the House of Representatives and the United States Senate concluded as much through the House of Representatives vote to impeach Mr. Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors and the majority of the Senate voting to convict Mr. Trump of Incitement of Insurrection on February 13, 2021, with a vote of 57–43.”
Congress impeached Trump last year for incitement of insurrection. However, Congress failed to convict him. It fell nine votes short in the Senate.
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In the lead-up to the Civil War, some representatives swore to support the U.S. Constitution, defected to the Confederacy, and tried to rejoin the U.S. Congress even after aiding an insurrection.
The 14th Amendment was ratified amid this debate over how to deal with the former insurrectionists in Congress.
Congress has used the Fourteenth Amendment to disqualify someone from office only once. Citing this amendment, Congress unseated socialist Rep. Victor Berger of Wisconsin, following Berger’s 1919 conviction for violating the Espionage Act.
In September, a federal judge in New Mexico cited the Fourteenth Amendment to disqualify a Capitol rioter from serving as county commissioner.
The Horn editorial team