As former President Donald Trump prepares for a legal fight in the four indictments against him, another storm is brewing on a constitutional level. A growing number of voices on the left and right believe the 14th Amendment could be used to remove Trump from the 2024 ballot due to his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol building.
These new challenges for Trump include lawsuits emerging in a number of states including New Hampshire, Arizona, and Michigan that seek to keep the current GOP frontrunner off of 2024 ballots. The legal and constitutional claim being made is that Trump is ineligible for office after engaging in an insurrection against the United States.
Former Arkansas Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson, who’s running against Trump in the primary, told CBN News while he supported Trump twice before, he now believes Trump is ineligible to even run this time around.
“Things changed after Jan. 6 and leading up to it whenever he refused to recognize that we ought to transfer power in a peaceful fashion under our democracy and to me this was not consistent with our Constitution,” claimed Hutchinson.
“Our country needs to have a new direction and a new leader,” he added.
Hutchinson specifically points to Section Three of the 14th Amendment which states an elected official cannot assume office if they have taken an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and then “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against” the U.S. or “given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
“The voters are in a very difficult position. They’ll be voting in Iowa, New Hampshire, and even on Super Tuesday without knowing the outcome of the cases. And it sets it up where if it’s not determined early, later on, he could be the nominee and there could be a lawsuit that he’s actually ineligible,” explained Hutchinson.
Democrats like Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine agree this makes a strong case against Trump’s holding office.
“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,” Kaine said during an interview with ABC News. “So, I think there is a powerful argument to be made.”
Two law professors from the Federalist Society, a key conservative legal group, studied this subject for more than a year. Their research concluded the Civil War era amendment can still be enforced today, stating “it disqualifies former President Donald Trump, and potentially many others, because of their participation in the attempted overthrow of the 2020 presidential election.”
Hans Von Spakovsky, Senior Legal Fellow, Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation strongly disagrees.
“I think they’re wrong they’re wrong for a number of reasons,” he told CBN News.
“Donald Trump has never been convicted. He’s never even been charged with insurrection or rebellion,” explained Spakosky. “In fact, if you remember in the second impeachment trial, second impeachment case, the Senate did not convict him of that so trying to suddenly claim that he’s guilty of insurrection or rebellion under those circumstances just doesn’t work.”
Spakovsky also believes upcoming lawsuits to keep Trump off of state ballots will not work citing prior unsuccessful efforts using Section Three to disqualify other elected officials allegedly involved in Jan. 6, including U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI).
“We just had a federal court in Florida throw out a lawsuit that was attempting to do the same thing with Donald Trump saying that voters don’t have standing they don’t have the ability to even bring such a claim,” explained Spakovsky.
In response to claims he’s ineligible to run, Trump said almost all legal scholars say the 14th Amendment has “no legal basis” relative to the upcoming 2024 presidential election, and calls this another trick being used to steal another election.