(RightWing.org) – Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution bars anyone who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the US in violation of their oath of office from holding any office, “civilian or military.” Congress can “remove such disability” by an affirmative vote by two-thirds of the House and Senate. However, the Constitution provides no enforcement mechanism for that prohibition. Nevertheless, a group of opponents of former President Donald Trump attempted to use that clause against him — to no avail.
On November 14, Michigan Appeals Court Judge James Robert Redford ruled in favor of the former president in the state’s Court of Claims. The plaintiffs in Case No. 23-000137-MZ asked the court to grant their petition for injunctive and declarative relief, limiting Trump’s ability to run for president in Michigan during the 2024 election cycle.
They asked the court to:
- Issue a declaration disqualifying Trump from holding the office of president under Section 3.
- Grant a permanent injunction barring the Michigan Secretary of State from including the former president on the 2024 presidential primary ballot.
- Permanently enjoin the secretary of state from including Trump on the ballot for the November 5, 2024, general election as a presidential candidate.
Redford’s precisely written 21-page ruling explained that allowing the judiciary to decide questions involving the definition of a “rebellion” or an “insurrection” and prohibiting an individual from running for president “essentially [stripped] Congress of its ability” to remove that person’s potential future disqualification “by a vote of two-thirds” of each chamber.
Likewise, the judge said that ruling in the plaintiffs’ favor would remove Congress’s ability to determine whether an insurrection or rebellion occurred and leave the matter in the hands of “one single judicial officer.” He continued, warning that one person, no matter how well-intentioned, could not — “in any manner or form… embody the represented qualities of every [American] as does the House… and the Senate.”
Redford concluded his order by pointing out the obvious. Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment doesn’t grant the judiciary the authority to enforce, “by appropriate legislation,” its provisions.
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