Skip to content Skip to footer

9 CA Lawmakers Demand Expedited Review of Trump’s Eligibility to Run for Office

“It is urgent to resolve the question of Mr. Trump’s eligibility” before a December deadline, the lawmakers said.

Former President Donald Trump appears in a pre-taped interview on "Meet the Press" at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, in Bedminster, NJ, September 14, 2023.

Nine lawmakers from California’s state legislature have written a letter to Attorney General Rob Bonta (D), requesting that he expedite a judicial review over whether former President Donald Trump is eligible to run for president again within the state.

The lawmakers, all Democrats, argue that Trump is barred from office due to his involvement in the attack on the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, 2021, to disrupt the certification of his loss to President Joe Biden.

Under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, “no person shall…hold any office…having previously taken an oath…to support the Constitution of the United States” if they have engaged in insurrection, or given direct aid to individuals who have. Many have suggested Trump’s actions on January 6 fit this criteria, as he ordered an agitated mob to the Capitol building itself, and stood by for several hours doing nothing about the violence before succumbing to pressure from other lawmakers to call it off.

Bonta himself cannot make a declaration that Trump is ineligible, but through his office he can expedite a legal challenge to the former president’s candidate status. The letter writers noted that Bonta should expedite the challenge quickly, as there is a December deadline for the state Secretary of State’s office to decide each presidential candidate’s eligibility ahead of the March primary election.

“We all watched in horror Mr. Trump’s insurrection against the United States when he ordered a mob of his supporters to the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021 to intimidate [former] Vice President [Mike] Pence and the United States Congress and interrupt the certification of the 2020 Presidential Election that Mr. Trump lost,” the letter to Bonta stated.

Bonta is the “top law enforcement officer” of California, so he is in a unique “position to proactively seek the court’s opinion” on the matter, the letter said.

“It is urgent to resolve the question of Mr. Trump’s eligibility to appear on the ballot as California Elections Code 6340 requires the Secretary of State to announce candidate eligibility by December 8, 2023,” the lawmakers wrote.

At least one lawsuit within the state of California has been filed against Trump that questions his eligibility status. More challenges are likely to come in that state and in others across the U.S. Some challenges to the former president’s candidacy have already been made.

In Colorado, for example, a lawsuit filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) on behalf of six voters in the state demands that Trump be disqualified in that state from running for president. Another lawsuit in Minnesota, filed on behalf of voters by a progressive organization called Free Speech for People, is also asking for Trump to be disqualified there.

While California is considered a “solidly blue” state for Democratic presidential candidates in general elections, Minnesota and Colorado are closer to “swing” state status, although Trump has lost both states in the past two election cycles.

While lawsuits have developed (with more likely coming) challenging Trump’s status as a candidate, it’s important to also note that a conviction relating to insurrection is not necessary, under the terms of the 14th amendment, in order to prevent someone from running for office.

CREW successfully removed from office and blocked New Mexico county commissioner Couy Griffin, for example, who co-founded Cowboys for Trump and was involved in the attack on the Capitol. The organization found success through a lawsuit, with a judge ultimately finding last year that Griffin had constitutionally disqualified himself from holding future office for engaging in an act of insurrection.

Griffin had previously been convicted for illegally breaching the grounds of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, but his charges did not include any allegation of insurrection against the government.

Join us in defending the truth before it’s too late

The future of independent journalism is uncertain, and the consequences of losing it are too grave to ignore. To ensure Truthout remains safe, strong, and free, we need to raise $27,000 in the next 24 hours. Every dollar raised goes directly toward the costs of producing news you can trust.

Please give what you can — because by supporting us with a tax-deductible donation, you’re not just preserving a source of news, you’re helping to safeguard what’s left of our democracy.