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Section 3 of 14th amendment not an easy fix in preventing former President Trump from running again, if impeachment fails

Published: Feb. 9, 2021 at 10:20 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - With the impeachment trial unlikely to lead to a conviction, Democrats may have a Plan B to keep former President Trump from running again.

It’s a part of the Constitution that hasn’t been used in decades, section three of the 14th Amendment.

University of Arizona School of Government and Public Policy Associate Professor, Chad Westerland, said when teaching the 14th amendment, they hardly talk about section three because it hasn’t been relevant, until now.

It states:

“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.”

But tying President Trump’s speech on January 6th directly to the following insurrection may be difficult, according to Westerland. Especially if Democrats try to invoke the 3rd section of the 14th amendment.

“It has certainly been raised, as it’s a part of the constitution. Just because we haven’t used it often or thought about it much, does it mean it’s not there,” said Westerland. “It is very specific about insurrection and rebellion and direct line. Again, legally that would probably require the Trump administration, or President Trump himself, to have been fairly directly involved in the actual planning of the attack. We don’t have evidence of that, and I’m certainly not suggesting there is, I just think that would probably have to be more visible for the section 3 of the 14th amendment to be invoked.”

Westerland suggests the more likely outcome is Trump won’t run again but continue to be a stronghold in the Republican party.

As for his second impeachment, it may be tough for it to pass the Senate and flip enough Republican votes.

“Mitch McConnell is somebody who has come out and explicitly blamed former President Trump for January 6th, yet he did not vote to say this was constitutional. Which I think tells us a lot about where this Senate is,” said Westerland. “I just don’t see that there’s 67 votes to convict. I would be genuinely shocked.”

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