About Last Week:
14th Amendment Does Not Bar Trump
So it’s California and it’s – once again – stupid.
This time, a gaggle of state legislators have asked the egregious state Attorney General Rob Bonta - https://thomas699.substack.com/p/no-pokey-for-the-wokey - to keep Donald Trump off of the March primary ballot.
The leges seem a bit unclear as to how that would be done, but are adamant since Trump violated the 14th amendment - https://www.politico.com/news/2023/09/18/democrats-effort-kick-trump-off-california-ballot-00116476 - he should not be allowed to run for president.
And – given his track record of filing absurdly political lawsuits – if Bonta can find a way to both try to do it and not hurt his chances in his expected 2026 governor’s campaign, he will.
At issue is the post-Civil War constitutional amendment that, in part, reads as follows:
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
Anti-Trumpers maintain that since the events of January 6th were in fact an insurrection and that Trump caused it so as to block the legitimate peaceful transfer of power he is personally barred from holding federal office.
While the argument is wrong – literally – that will most likely not stop Bonta or any one of a handful of other attorneys general from trying.
Why is it wrong?
First, the events of January 6th were not an insurrection attempt. They were wrong and stupid and the greatest gift ever given to the Deep State and the Democrats, but they did not constitute an insurrection. When you try to overthrow the government, you tend not make sure to wrap it up in time to get back to the hotel for dinner - https://thomas699.substack.com/p/seven-hours-in-january-was-not-seven .
Second, to say Trump caused the problem is also not true. One could make the argument that Nancy Pelosi “caused” it because she point-blank refused to beef up Capitol security that day, thereby allowing bad actors to run wild, or that the FBI “caused” it via its embedded intelligence operatives.
Third, Trump has not been found guilty of a crime…yet. Therefore the idea is legally premature and the position taken by those in favor that “we all know it was an insurrection and he did it so we don’t need a trial” is not quite – at least for the time being – how the American justice system works.
Fourth, read the clause again – it says “elector of President,” not “president.” May seem like splitting hairs, but they’re really different. As to “officer,” even that is muddy as many legal scholars equate that with appointed personnel. Finally, Congress is specifically called out for the ban, but the presidency is not. So even if it ever gets to court it will not fly (unless, of course, that court is in the District of Columbia.)
Fifth, even if you twist yourself into believing Trump cannot serve as president, it does not in any way, shape, or form bar him from running for the office. That would be a gross and obvious violation of his first amendment rights…oh, wait - https://www.politico.com/news/2023/09/15/jack-smith-seeks-gag-order-on-trump-00116366
Sixth, to argue that insurrectionists are not allowed to serve in the federal government is patently false. A few years after the Civil War, Confederate soldiers were signing up for the U.S. Army and Confederate veterans began serving in – wait for it – Congress. In fact, dozens of former Confederates – and not just privates but high officers – served in the House and Senate, no problem.
The last Confederate veteran to serve in Congress was Charles Manly Stedman of North Carolina, a major on Gen. Robert E. Lee’s staff – seriously – and he held his seat until 1930. And he was a typical southern Democrat racist, by the way, pushing to erect a “Mammy Memorial” statue on Washington. And yes, it really means what you think it means: a statue honoring mammies because, as Stedman put it: “The traveler, as he passes by, will recall that epoch of southern civilization [when] fidelity and loyalty” prevailed. No class of any race of people held in bondage could be found anywhere who lived more [freely] from care or distress.”
Here's the mock up:
If Black Lives Matter started a hundred years earlier, they may have had a point. But even in 1923, enough people said “Holy Shit, that’s Racist!” to stop the project.
So, if people who signed up to specifically go shoot people as part of an actual intentional rather widely advertised insurrection were allowed to serve in Congress, I’m pretty sure that sets a precedent.
Speaking of political tyranny, a certain former prime minister gave yet another terrifying speech at the UN last week.
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