Trump Disqualified Under 14th Amendment For 2024?

Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

On Friday, a progressive organization initiated a legal action in Michigan, asserting that the former president, Donald Trump, cannot run again due to a seldom-invoked post-Civil War clause in the U.S. Constitution.

This marks the debut effort by a legally well-equipped group to hinder the GOP lead contender’s electoral push in a pivotal state.

The group, named “Free Speech For People,” posits that Trump’s actions related to his 2020 electoral defeat and his role in prompting the January 6, 2021 incident at the U.S. Capitol contravene the third section of the 14th Amendment. This section stipulates that individuals who once pledged to support the constitution but later participated in or instigated rebellion against it are ineligible for office.

This isn’t the first attempt by the organization to impede the GOP’s top candidate’s ambitions, with a prior suit being filed in Minnesota.

While many suits have been presented across the country, those initiated by Free Speech For People, alongside one from another progressive entity in Colorado, are unique due to the substantial legal backing behind them.

Trump has referred to these legal efforts as “electoral meddling,” with his legal representatives in the Colorado instance asserting it infringes upon his freedom of speech.

Such cases are believed to have a good chance of being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court, which hasn’t previously deliberated on this constitutional clause.

Michigan’s relevance in this matter is heightened given its status as a key battleground state and the recent statement by its Democratic Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson, who mentioned in The Washington Post that she, along with other senior electoral officials, lacks the mandate to exclude Trump based on this clause.

Historically, the aforementioned clause has been invoked only a few times post-Civil War.