The Colorado Supreme Court has ruled by a vote of 4-3 that Donald Trump cannot appear on the Republican primary ballot in that state because he is disqualified under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The relevant part of the 14th Amendment says:
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.
It’s a long ruling – 134 pages for the majority opinion alone – and very thorough. It even quotes a ruling by Justice Gorsuch from back when he was a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Of course, it’s only the opinion of one state supreme court out of fifty.
Even the legal analysts who think the Colorado court is right are pretty sure the U.S. Supreme Court is going to overturn it. And many of them are also arguing that even if the Colorado court is right on the facts and on its interpretation of the Amendment – and I think they are – it would still be better to defeat Trump’s authoritarian extremism at the ballot box rather than in the courts.
They have a point, but I disagree. I don’t think it’s good for the country to allow a vote on its destruction and that is precisely what we get if Trump is allowed to run. Our fundamental democracy should not be put up for a vote.
We settled this matter by putting down the rebellion in our Civil War that ended in 1865. We passed the 14th amendment after that to make sure that those who were part of an insurrection could not hold political office. We also passed it, along with the 13th and 15th, to change some of the fundamental rules of our country that were adopted in compromise with enslavers when the Constitution was first written.
We should not have to fight that battle again. The fact that we are struggling with these issues 150 years after the decisive victory over the rebel states in the Civil War is due to our politicians and our courts not following through on either Reconstruction or those three significant amendments that expand the rights of all Americans. Continue reading “Insurrectionists and the Supreme Court”…