What is the law being used to disqualify Trump from the presidential ballot?

By John Mercury December 30, 2023

Section three of the 14th amendment to the US constitution was only of interest to history buffs and legal boffins in recent times.

It is a relic of the constitution, originally composed 155 years ago to keep former confederates out of government office.

For decades now, it has laid dormant.

But the 14th amendment has been brought back into play, in a very big way, by the January 6 storming of the Capitol and the key question about the role Donald Trump – then the outgoing president – played in the 2021 violence.

Two sentences of the 14th amendment are at the centre of myriad legal battles for Team Trump, with more on the horizon.

They state that any individual who has sworn an oath to the US government and then engages in an insurrection shall afterward be barred from holding office.

That is exactly what Shenna Bellows, the secretary of state for Maine, determines that Donald Trump did.

Issuing an historic 36-page ruling, culminating in the decision to remove him from the Republican primary ballot in the state, she wrote that the former president “used a false narrative of election fraud to inflame his supporters”.

Colorado issued a similar ruling last week.

California, meanwhile, says Donald Trump’s name will remain on the ballot, as it will in Minnesota and Michigan.

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Second state bans Trump from ballot

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Other states are poised to deliver their own judgements on his eligibility.

With 50 states capable of taking different paths, all this is headed for the Supreme Court, the highest in the land, and its nine judges – many of whom are Trump-appointed, to rule upon.

A definitive ruling would be binding nationwide, but with just two weeks to go until Iowa becomes the first state to choose its Republican candidate for 2024, all eyes are on when the court will take up the case and how quickly they might issue a decision.

The stakes could scarcely be higher.


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