As former President Donald Trump weighs announcing a potential 2024 presidential run this fall — which would be his third run for president in as many election cycles — a constitutional law professor is calling on Democrats to act now to prevent him from doing so.
Alan B. Morrison, associate dean at George Washington University Law School, penned an op-ed that was published in The Hill on Saturday evening. In it, Morrison calls for Democrats to sue Trump in federal court, citing the insurrectionist clause in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution to block any future run for office — including for president.
Section 3 of that amendment bars any person who has held federal office and “previously taken an oath…to support the Constitution of the United States” from entering any political office again if they have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the country.
Morrison called for Democrats to hold Trump accountable to that amendment’s language. Citing explosive testimonies from witnesses during the January 6 committee’s public hearings (in particular, from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson), Morrison said there is little doubt that Trump “fomented the insurrection” that resulted in the attack on the U.S. Capitol building.
“There are no longer any innocent explanations for what he did that day,” Morrison wrote, noting that the committee has demonstrated that Trump knew he had no legal or factual basis for election fraud claims, and that former Vice President Mike Pence was not going to help him usurp the certification of the Electoral College.
Trump was also aware that some of his loyalists who had gathered in front of the White House were armed, but still urged them to go to the Capitol. Trump’s inaction as the attack was unfolding is yet another reason Democrats need to bar him from running again, the constitutional expert went on.
“It was clearly in his power to call off the insurrection — but instead of trying to stop the violence, he chose to do nothing,” said Morrison.
If the 14th Amendment insurrectionist clause applies to anyone, he added, it “must surely apply to Donald Trump.”
Democrats should bring forward a lawsuit, on behalf of current President Joe Biden or any potential candidates that may run in 2024, “seeking a ruling that Donald Trump participated in the Jan. 6 insurrection,” which would bar him from being a candidate for president.
Although it’s unclear whether such a lawsuit would be successful, Democrats have “nothing to lose” in trying, Morrison concluded.
Morrison’s calls for Democrats to stop Trump from being able to run for office come as news reports suggest that the former president will make an announcement sometime this fall about running again in the next presidential election cycle.
One source close to Trump told The Washington Post that there’s a 70 percent chance he will make an announcement sometime before the midterm elections. A second source told the paper that he may even announce another presidential run before September.
Rolling Stone has reported that Trump is considering launching another presidential campaign because he believes that a successful run would dissuade the Department of Justice from investigating or indicting him on a slew of possible criminal charges relating to his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential race.
One source indicated to the magazine that Trump “said something like, ‘[prosecutors] couldn’t get away with this while I was president.'” Discussions about running again seemed to be centered around his desire to avoid criminal prosecution. “He went on for a couple minutes about how ‘some very corrupt’ people want to ‘put me in jail,'” the source added.
The stakes have never been higher (and our need for your support has never been greater).
For over two decades, Truthout’s journalists have worked tirelessly to give our readers the news they need to understand and take action in an increasingly complex world. At a time when we should be reaching even more people, big tech has suppressed independent news in their algorithms and drastically reduced our traffic. Less traffic this year has meant a sharp decline in donations.
The fact that you’re reading this message gives us hope for Truthout’s future and the future of democracy. As we cover the news of today and look to the near and distant future we need your help to keep our journalists writing.
Please do what you can today to help us keep working for the coming months and beyond.