Trump has already disqualified himself from White House return – say two conservative law professors

The two law professors argue the former president should be barred under the 14th Amendment

A new paper by conservative law professors William Baude and Michael Stokes Paulsen suggests that Donald Trump should be disqualified from serving as president under Section Three of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. Baude and Paulsen argue that the 14th Amendment contains a clause prohibiting any former elected official who engages in insurrection or rebellion from holding office in the future. Trump was impeached in the House of Representatives for his role in facilitating an attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election, which peaked when a group of his supporters stormed the US Capitol building on January 6, 2021.

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Academics have described Trump’s attempt to stay in power after losing the 2020 election to Joe Biden as an attempted self-coup. However, just over two-and-a-half years later, the one-term president is running for the White House again and leading the race for the Republican nomination. Despite facing charges in three separate criminal cases, it is not entirely unlikely that Trump may win next year’s election in a rematch with Biden.

The Fourteenth Amendment, passed in 1868, was a direct response to Confederate secession and has hardly ever been enforced. It is unclear how Section Three might be enforced, whether Congress would have to act, or whether a citizen or organization would have to sue to have Trump removed from presidential ballots to bring the issue before a court. There is a recent precedent for a judge acting to bar someone involved in an insurrection attempt from holding office: former Otero County, New Mexico Commissioner Couy Griffin was banned for life from public office for leading the Cowboys for Trump group during the Capitol riot.

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