The Equal Justice Society on February 18 joined more than a dozen legal and advocacy organizations in urging Congress to disqualify Donald Trump from holding future federal office. Although the Senate failed to convict Trump due to procedural disagreements, Section Three of the 14th Amendment would allow Congress to hold him accountable for inciting the January 6 insurrection, an action which Americans from across the political spectrum support.
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, co-signers, including EJS, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Common Cause, Project on Government Oversight, Public Citizen, Government Accountability Project, Protect Democracy, and others, call on Congress to invoke Section Three of the 14th Amendment to address the “grave threats” that insurrectionists pose to American democracy, including former President Trump.
“Initially enacted in the wake of the Civil War and intended to apply to future cases, Section Three disqualifies from public office any individual who has taken an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and then engages in insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or has given aid or comfort to those who have.” The co-signers continue: “We believe that such legislation or a resolution could garner the necessary bipartisan support.”
Of the 43 Republican Senators who voted to acquit former President Trump, 38 of them claimed to have done so on procedural grounds, citing their belief that the impeachment of a former president was unconstitutional. In the days leading up to and since the final impeachment vote, the public conversation has shifted towards disqualifying Trump through other means, and polling that shows a majority of Americans want him barred from future office. Republicans — including former Members of Congress and former Congressional staff — have cited enforcement of Section Three as a necessary step to address the existential threat to American democracy posed by former President Trump and others who engage in insurrection or rebellion.
“This is a moment for Congress to draw a bright line: That engaging in insurrectionist activity will disqualify you from public office,” said Grant Tudor, a policy advocate with Protect Democracy. “Failure to draw that line now risks that dangerous behavior will not just continue — it will escalate.”