Why It Won’t Work; At Least Not In Time

Of late there has been much said about Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment as it may pertain to Donald Trump. I thought that today I would start with the text and then give my opinions about how it may or may not apply in this case especially considering the printing of the 2024 ballots.
Here is the text: “No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President or Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having personally 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 Constitutions of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by two thirds of each House remove the disability.”

I’ll take the easy and obvious part first. The two thirds “escape clause” isn’t going to happen now or in any foreseeable future.

By his actions on January 20, 2017 combined with his actions on, in the lead up to and subsequent to January 6, 2021, Donald Trump is clearly in violation of this section and therefore ineligible to run for many offices including the presidency. (Not that it will ever come to pass but I find it humorous that Cadet Bone Spurs is ineligible to be a military officer.) This provision in the Constitution does little to nothing to outline how and who will enforce it. While to any reasonable person paying attention Trump is guilty adjudicating that is another matter. Consider one of the basics; this is at its core a moral, not legal, penalty and today the GOP is run by amoral people so don’t expect them to abandon Trump.

The reality is that any challenges to Trump’s eligibility for elected office and thereby to be on the ballot will be handled on a state-by-state basis and may well eventually find their way to the Supreme Court. By the information readily available at this point, it appears that Minnesota and South Dakota have the earliest early voting at 46 days prior to Election Day. So, to be on the safe side let’s assume that cases would have to be resolved (the first one to make it to the Supreme Court will set the precedent) by about early September of 2024 to have any impact. I assume that pending final judgement, (probably at the Supreme Court level), a court would most likely issue an injunction pending appeal in the case of a likely ruling unfavorable to Trump.

My basic point is that because our system of justice moves slowly and allows a lot of appeal and delay options, don’t expect this Constitutional provision to matter in 2024. Don’t expect the courts to save American democracy; it’s up to you to do so. Vote!!!!!!

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