Former President Donald Trump is facing a legal challenge regarding his eligibility to run for the presidency in the 2024 election. Critics, including legal experts, argue that Trump’s involvement in the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol disqualifies him from holding public office under the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution. This amendment prohibits individuals who have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” or provided “aid or comfort” to enemies from holding office.
Despite being the leading Republican candidate for the 2024 presidential election, Trump has been hit with 91 felony charges across four criminal indictments this year. While none of these charges directly relate to insurrection, some believe that his role in the Capitol attack should be enough to bar him from future public office.
Donald Trump vehemently opposes this legal theory and has referred to it as a ploy by the “Radical Left Communists” to steal the upcoming election. He claims that the majority of legal scholars do not support the idea that the 14th Amendment could disqualify him. In a Truth Social post, he stated, “It is just another ‘trick’ being used by the Radical Left Communists, Marxists, and Fascists to again steal an Election that their candidate, the WORST, MOST INCOMPETENT, & MOST CORRUPT President in U.S. history, is incapable of winning in a Free and Fair Election.”
However, not all legal experts dismiss this theory. Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard University, and Michael Luttig, a former federal judge appointed by George H.W. Bush, co-authored an opinion article in The Atlantic supporting the theory. Their view was echoed by University of Chicago Law School Professor William Baude and University of St. Thomas Law School Professor Michael Stokes Paulsen, both members of the conservative Federalist Society, in a paper published in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review.
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Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner, in his Justice Matters podcast, argued that Trump is already disqualified by the 14th Amendment’s automatic prohibition. Kirschner suggested that officials in certain states, such as Democratic Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, should use this theory to remove Trump’s name from the presidential ballot. He predicted that any legal challenges to this action would ultimately fail in the Supreme Court.
Trump’s spokesperson, Steven Cheung, has labeled Kirschner as a purveyor of conspiracy theories and questionable legal analysis, suggesting that he lacks credibility within the legal community.
The debate over whether the 14th Amendment can be used to disqualify Donald Trump from running for office in 2024 remains contentious, with legal experts and political figures on both sides of the argument. As the election approaches, this issue is likely to continue to be a point of contention and debate in the political arena.