Efforts to disqualify former President Donald Trump from the 2024 ballot under the 14th Amendment are gaining momentum, forcing state election officials to prepare for potential legal battles.
According to a report by ABC News on Friday, September 1, the argument to bar Trump from appearing on primary or general election ballots revolves around Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which disqualifies elected officials who engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States or provided aid or comfort to its enemies, unless granted amnesty by Congress.
Advocacy groups claim that Trump’s actions on January 6, 2021, meet the criteria for disqualification due to his alleged involvement in the insurrection.
While similar legal challenges have been unsuccessful against other elected Republicans, the focus on Trump’s conduct during the events of January 6th and his support for overturning the 2020 election results is now being pursued as disqualifying behavior.
Notably, Trump denies any involvement in the attack on Capitol Hill and his campaign spokesperson dismisses the attempts to disqualify him as an “absurd conspiracy theory and political attack.”
However, the movement gained further traction when members of the conservative Federalist Society, William Baude and Michael Stokes Paulsen, expressed support for disqualification in the Pennsylvania Law Review.
This was followed by retired conservative federal appeals judge J. Michael Luttig and Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Laurence Tribe making similar arguments in The Atlantic.
Threats of legal filings under this constitutional clause are intensifying in various states, including New Hampshire, Arizona, and Michigan. In fact, a lawsuit to disqualify Trump was filed in Michigan on Monday.
Secretaries of state are now taking steps to prepare for the possibility of administering elections without Trump as the leading candidate.
Discussions among secretaries of state from multiple states have been ongoing for over a year, with a focus on preparing for the legal challenges to Trump’s eligibility.
They acknowledge that their decisions may have far-reaching implications and anticipate multiple resolution points throughout the election cycle.
However, as conversations surrounding the use of the 14th Amendment provision continue to grow, some legal scholars and election officials have raised concerns about the practicality of these emerging lawsuits.
Procedural challenges, rather than substantive ones, are seen as the most difficult aspects of the anticipated litigation.
One significant concern is the lack of clarity regarding who has standing to bring forth these challenges.
Secretaries of state, guided by legal experts from different ideological perspectives, are thoroughly examining the legislative frameworks in their respective states to navigate potential obstacles.