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Another Obstacle in Trump's Possible 2024 Re-Election Bid

While I do not usually write about rumors, there is a chance that former President Donald Trump will run for a second presidential term in 2024. He has mentioned this possibility on multiple occasions, and believes that if he does not run, his “base will be very angry.” He does face multiple obstacles, including financial investigations and challenges, but one challenge that recently came to the surface pertains to the Fourteenth Amendment.

After the Civil War ceased, Congress passed the Fourteenth Amendment: there are five sections, but the particular section that is relevant for discourse is the third section:

"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."

In addition to the debate over the language presented above, there is more debate regarding the context and which states it affected. To contextualize the amendment, it was ratified following the Civil War, when southern states (the Confederates) succeeded from the northern states (the Union). Lincoln and his party, after negotiation, allowed southern states to once again become states, but the states were encouraged to ban people from running for office that engaged in insurrections.

To simplify, if Trump were convicted of inciting the events of January 6, 2021 at the Capitol by Congress, it is likely that he would have been banned for holding federal office for life. However, he was impeached by the House of Representatives, and constitutional experts believe that section 5 of the amendment (“The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article”) would only allow Congress to impose such a ban, which is unlikely given the polarization and partisanship present. Additionally, it becomes more tricky when southern states are involved (particularly, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana), as those states, in the context of the Fourteenth amendment, have had an obligation to prevent insurrection leaders from obtaining office. All of this depends, of course, on whether you believe Trump should be responsible for precipitating those events.




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