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The 14th Amendment changed the United States forever when ratified in 1868. Specifically when discussing the amendment, most discussions revolve around Section 1 of the amendment which states that:
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws," (Amendment XIV, Section 1).
While not originally worded to include the specified language, the Supreme Court has since clarified that "equal protection under the law" includes protections regardless of sex, race, religion, and (formerly) protected reproductive rights. While this amendment has been climactically important over the last several years, the section that is making news presently is actually Section 3.
On Wednesday the 6th of September, a group based in Washington began a legal action that is intended to block Donald Trump from the Republican Primary in Colorado. It is one of the first lawsuits to be attempted with the functional end result of former President Trump's removal from consideration. The response to this has been complex, with arguments being made for and against the move.
The Trump Campaign later responded to this by saying that it was “. . . stretching the law beyond recognition,” as well as saying that it has no basis, “Except in the minds of those who are pushing it,” (Cabral BBC). Critics are claiming that if this push continues to move forward then voters will risk losing the right to decide whether or not the former President will be able to come back to the White House.
The current legislative argument being used to justify the actions taken to question the legality of Trump running for office again uses Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. This Amendment forbids anyone who has exemplified “Rebellion or Insurrection” in any way, shape, or form against the United States from running for office.
"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. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability," (Amendment 14, Section 3).
The 14th Amendment was ratified after the Civil War with Section 3 being written in response to the fears of further sedition originating from governmental offices if former Confederates were to take a position within the government. It was used during this particular time period in order to intervene with the former Confederate President, Jefferson Davis, and the former Confederate Vice President, Alexander Stevens. With the House of Representatives voting to impeach Trump under incitement of insurrection, the basis for the legal action has been founded in this legal precedence. However, the US Senate failed to convict him, only managing 2/3s of the required votes according to Sam Cabral and Kayla Epstein. This Strategy of the 14th amendment has come to light since August in such a way with Former President Trump being charged with election Subversion within two separate criminal cases.
“Joe Biden, Democrats, and never Trumpers are scared to death because they see polls showing President Trump winning in the general election” Steven Cheung inquired to BBC’s Partner CBS. According to Sam Cabral and Kayla Epstein, Mr. Trump remains the leading candidate in the polls for the Republican party. Joe Biden and Donald Trump are neck and neck ahead of their upcoming rematch.
The Majority of the Supreme Court is mostly conservative and maintains judges appointed by Trump. There is still a possibility of swaying their opinion according, to the BBC. Jeffery Soonfield later said “All that is needed is that one of the 50 state election officials has to find him ineligible," he informed the BBC. He also later said that with voters heading to the polls so early on in the year the results will effectively be decided quickly.
In a piece portraying the opinion of Donald Trump, Liberal professor Noah Feldman wrote “Donald Trump is manifestly unfit to be president. But it’s up to Voters to block him. Magic words from the past won’t save us.” Nothing like this has ever occurred in the office before so it will be interesting to see what happens. What does the future hold for Donald Trump and his future in office? Only time will tell.
Kayla Epstein and Sam Cabral. “The 14th Amendment Plan to Disqualify Trump, Explained.” BBC News, BBC, 9 Sept. 2023, www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-66690276.
My name is Andrew Sheneman, I am a Senior student at Poudre High School. I am involved with the Poudre Press here and it is my first year. I’ve always enjoyed writing, and I’m excited to contribute to the Poudre Press and take my writing a step further!