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Mon Oct 30, 2023, 03:55 PM Oct 2023

Tracking Section 3 Trump Disqualification Challenges (Lawfare)


Almost immediately after Jan. 6, 2021, legal commentators began debating whether Section 3 of the 14th Amendment could be used to disqualify former President Donald Trump from running in the 2024 presidential election. They discussed, in particular, whether or not Section 3 applied to a former president, whether it is self-executing, and whether Jan. 6 could be considered an insurrection or rebellion.

Since then, the issue has become less abstract. In February 2021, the U.S. Senate acquitted Trump of an impeachment article for inciting insurrection, but with a bipartisan majority of the Senate voting to convict. Section 3 challenges have been mounted against several legislators, and one state-level county commissioner who participated in the attack was successfully ousted from his post under that provision. In addition, the House Select Committee on the Jan. 6 Attack on the Capitol made the argument that Trump did inspire an insurrection, referring him to the Justice Department for prosecution under multiple criminal statutes, including one prohibiting insurrection. The Special Counsel’s Office has since brought a criminal case in Washington, D.C. charging Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 attack. In addition, some prominent legal conservatives have argued for a strong, originalist reading of Section 3 that they argue would apply to Trump, immediately disqualifying him from office.

Beginning with a case in Florida in February 2023, voters and advocacy groups have brought many Section 3 challenges in state and federal courts across the country, attempting to block Trump’s name from appearing on ballots for state primaries and caucuses before the national election begins. This page is intended to track which states have active Section 3 litigation to remove Trump from the 2024 ballot. At the bottom is a selected reading of Lawfare's coverage on the issue. Note that the procedural posture and legal theories behind these challenges vary greatly, and a dismissal in any particular action does not necessarily bar other challenges from being brought in that same state.

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