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article imageOp-Ed: The 14th Amendment could bar Trump from ever holding office again

By Karen Graham     Jan 12, 2021 in Politics
As lawmakers look at legal tools and historical guidance in an attempt to hold President Donald Trump accountable for the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week, a little known section of the 14th Amendment is being re-examined.
Of course, many lawmakers and a majority of the public feel that impeachment and/or immediate removal from office using the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is the preferred way to handle getting rid of Trump.
The members of the House Judiciary Committee announced plans for articles of impeachment for President Donald Trump, last week, alleging he will “remain a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution” if he is allowed to remain in office for two more weeks.
Then, the 25th Amendment was discussed. But to remove the president from office requires Vice-President Pence and the majority of the president's cabinet to agree to invoke it, something that probably won't happen.
The problem is that either impeachment or using the 25th Amendment would create even more unwanted tensions in a country that is on the edge of an all-out civil war. And it wouldn't help in President-Elect Joe Biden's peaceful transition to the presidency, either.
The violent assault on the US Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump has raised security co...
The violent assault on the US Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump has raised security concerns about the coming inauguration of Presdent-elect Joe Biden
ROBERTO SCHMIDT, AFP
The biggest fear is that Trump will leave office without being held accountable for his actions, not just last Wednesday, but for his overtly illegal efforts to overturn the election results. Trump, as of today, still takes no responsibility for his actions.
Trump has already informed his followers "he will be back," something that lawmakers are taking seriously. This is the very thing they want to stop Trump from doing - having a platform that could lead to his running for president again. The question is now simple. How can we stop him?
The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
The 14th Amendment addresses citizenship rights and equal protection under the law and was proposed in response to issues related to former slaves following the American Civil War.
Participants in the storming of the US Congress came with helmets  gas masks  shields and climbing g...
Participants in the storming of the US Congress came with helmets, gas masks, shields and climbing gear
Joseph Prezioso, AFP/File
The most widely used phrase from the 14th Amendment in litigations is "equal protection of the laws." This is because the Fourteenth Amendment addresses many aspects of citizenship and the rights of citizens. The amendment was adopted on July 9, 1868, as one of the Reconstruction Amendments after the Civil War.
The 14th Amendment has figured prominently in a number of Supreme Court cases such as Roe v. Wade (reproductive rights), Bush v. Gore (election recounts), or Reed v. Reed (gender discrimination). The amendment addresses many aspects of citizenship and the rights of citizens.
However, there is a section of the amendment that has rarely ever been used, yet it is still relevant.
Section 3 of the 14th Amendment gives Congress the authority to bar public officials, who specifically took an oath of allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, from holding office if they "engaged in insurrection or rebellion" against the Constitution and therefore broke their oath.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) says he has cancelled a foreign trip as President Donald Trump (R...
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) says he has cancelled a foreign trip as President Donald Trump (R) faces an impeachment vote in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives
MANDEL NGAN, AFP/File
Section 3 also requires a two-thirds vote by each House of Congress to reverse actions taken by this section. For example, In 1975, the citizenship of Confederate general Robert E. Lee was restored by a joint congressional resolution, retroactive to June 13, 1865.
Section 3 was also used to prevent Socialist Party of America member Victor L. Berger, convicted of violating the Espionage Act for his anti-militarist views, from taking his seat in the House of Representatives in 1919 and 1920.
Because it is believed that Donald Trump will remain a clear and present danger to the republic for so long as he serves as president—and for so long as he aspires to return to the presidency, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi formally asked her colleagues on Sunday for their views on this part of the Constitution.
Section 5 of the 14th Amendment is worth mentioning, It is short and sweet - The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Without a doubt, just making sure Trump will be barred from holding office ever again is probably best for this nation. It will take a long time to heal.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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