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Explainer: Impeachment or the 14th Amendment: -Can Trump be barred from future office?


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Explainer: Impeachment or the 14th Amendment: -and Trump be barred from future office?

By Jan Wolfe

 

2021-01-13T230937Z_1_LYNXMPEH0C1UQ_RTROPTP_4_USA-TRUMP-WALL.JPG

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a visit at the U.S.-Mexico border wall, in Alamo, Texas, U.S., January 12, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

 

(Reuters) - Some U.S. lawmakers have said President Donald Trump should be disqualified from holding political office again following his impeachment on Wednesday for inciting a mob that stormed the Capitol as lawmakers were certifying President-elect Joe Biden's victory.

 

Now that the House has impeached Trump, the Senate will hold a trial on whether to remove him and possibly bar him from future office.

 

Legal experts said disqualification could be accomplished through the impeachment proceedings or the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

 

Here is how the disqualification effort could play out.

 

CAN TRUMP'S DISQUALIFICATION BE ACCOMPLISHED THROUGH IMPEACHMENT?

   

The U.S. Constitution says there are two ways to punish an impeached official: removal from office or “disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States."

 

The House approved a single article of impeachment accusing Trump of inciting insurrection when he delivered an incendiary speech to supporters shortly before the pro-Trump mob rampaged the Capitol.

 

Trump is likely to argue at trial that his remarks were free speech protected by the Constitution's First Amendment and that, while he told supporters to "fight," he did not intend it as a literal call to violence.

 

Removing an official requires a "conviction" by a two-thirds Senate majority under the Constitution. Under precedent, only a simple majority is needed for disqualification. Historically, that vote only happens after a conviction.

 

Three federal officials in U.S. history have been disqualified through impeachment proceedings. All three were federal judges.

 

Most recently, in 2010 the Senate removed and disqualified from future office a Louisiana judge found to have engaged in corruption.

 

There is some debate over the scope of the disqualification clause and whether it applies to the presidency, said Brian Kalt, a law professor at Michigan State University.

 

Analyzing historical documents, some law experts say the founders did not intend the presidency to be considered an "office" under the disqualification clause, while others argue that the term applies.

 

CAN TRUMP BE DISQUALIFIED IF HE IS NOT CONVICTED BY THE SENATE?

 

This is uncharted legal territory, and there is no clear answer, scholars said.

 

Paul Campos, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Colorado, said he believed a vote to disqualify Trump can be held even if there are not enough votes for conviction. The U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that the Senate has wide latitude to determine how it conducts a trial, he said.

 

But Kalt said he thought disqualification would require conviction first. To do otherwise would be the equivalent of punishing the president for an offense he did not commit, Kalt said.

 

All three judges who were disqualified from office were first convicted.

 

WHAT ABOUT THE 14TH AMENDMENT?

 

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment provides an alternative path for disqualification.

 

The provision states that no person shall hold office if they have engaged in "insurrection or rebellion" against the United States. It was enacted following the Civil War to bar Confederates from holding public office.

 

Under congressional precedent, only a simple majority of both chambers is need to invoke this penalty. Congress can later remove the disqualification, but only if two-thirds of both houses vote in favor of doing so.

 

In 1919, Congress used the 14th Amendment to block an elected official, Victor Berger, from assuming his seat in the House because he had actively opposed U.S. intervention in World War I.

 

The text of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment does not explain how it should be invoked.

 

Another section the 14th Amendment, Section 5, empowers Congress to enforce the entire amendment through "appropriate legislation.” Some scholars have interpreted this language to mean that a majority of both chambers of Congress could enact a law applying a ban to a particular president, like Trump.

 

"The 14th Amendment route is very unclear as to what it would take to get it rolling," said Kalt. "I think it would require some combination of legislation and litigation."

 

COULD TRUMP CHALLENGE A DISQUALIFICATION IN COURT?

 

It is certainly possible, said Kalt.

 

A Supreme Court case from 1993 makes clear that the court is wary of second-guessing how the Senate handles impeachment. In that case, involving an accused judge, the court said whether the Senate had properly tried an impeachment was a political question and could not be litigated.

 

If Trump is disqualified, the current Supreme Court might want to clarify whether the move was lawful, Kalt said.

 

Trump appointed three of the Supreme Court's nine members: Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and most recently Amy Coney Barrett. The court now has a six-judge conservative majority.

 

"If you are going to say someone can't run, you want to get that litigated and settled sooner rather than later," Kalt said.

(Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Aurora Ellis)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2021-01-14
 
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  • webfact changed the title to Explainer: Impeachment or the 14th Amendment: -and Trump be barred from future office?
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59 minutes ago, jaiyen said:

Wait till he gets back to Trump Tower and sees how many of his investments have gone tits up too ! He is not going to be a happy man. Then again, he never is !

 I believe he is persona non grata in New York City. The governor a while back stated that Trump would need an army to protect him in his hometown. 

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6 hours ago, 1Gringo said:

that doesn't mean he can win and I don't think he will be able to.  but disqualification can make this a moot point and I hope the Senate goes that way.

 

Just to be clear.

 

You think there is an off-chance that democracy will vote in Trump again and you want the people in power now to prevent democracy taking place if that is the outcome?

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2 hours ago, spidermike007 said:

A few considerations:


1. Few like a loser. If they did not know Trump was a loser before, they sure will know it once he leaves the White House, and returns to his failing business.

2. I believe he will soon be forgotten. Just a terribly bad memory.

3. There is virtually no chance of him winning in 2024. I have been wrong before. But, as time goes on, he will become more and more irrelevant. Hopefully.

4. Without Twitter, FB, Instagram and Youtube, he is a 305 lb. zero.

5. There is a general assumption his physical and mental health keeps up. It appears over the past 6 months or so, both are on a serious decline. He will be 78 or 79 in 2024. And he is NOT healthy.

6. Lastly, the GOP will likely not stick with him, after he is gone. At least, if they are sane and have some reason.

7. It is likely that the only ones with more skeletons in their closets, are Papuan Highlander cannibals. Tax fraud? The SDNY could get a conviction. Let us hope and pray for that.

 

8. Contrary to the self created myth, Trump can barely negotiate his way out of a paper bag. Just think of how many have gotten over on him, and taken advantage of his lack of skill and prowess, in the past few years. Putin, Xi, Kim, MBS, and countless others. Now, the leaked tax returns paint the rest of the sorry picture. 17 major business failures! Possibly a record. And financial losses for decades. Unless he is lying to the IRS too. Very possible. 

 

9. His base has been dwindling since the election. Alot of conservative friends and family I have been speaking with, agree Biden won, and the fraud thing is a bit much, and a sure sign of a sore loser. I think the DC fiasco backfired for sure, and he lost alot of his "middle of the road, sensible, hard working, decent people" base. 

 

10. It is an astonishing thing, to witness a man who was already psychologically unstable, completely come unhinged. He is rambling and incoherent in his speech now, utterly desperate, and increasingly dangerous. There should be some national security laws in place, that allow Trump to be locked up in jail, until the 20th. He is a dangerous man, and a threat to the nation. And as far as charging the Trump rioters with serious charges, I have no issue with that. But, only a small percentage of the ones who broke into the capital building were arrested. I am hoping many are found, and charged with sedition. They deserve that. 

 

 

The problem is that he will only be forgotten if people stop talking about him.

 

These actions perpetuate the Trump political brand. 

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10 minutes ago, pedro01 said:

You think there is an off-chance that democracy will vote in Trump again and you want the people in power now to prevent democracy taking place if that is the outcome?

That’s what the US did with Hitler. In both cases it’s justified, and for similar reasons. I suggest you don’t pretend to be more stupid than we think a Trump fanboy is. 

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  • Scott changed the title to Explainer: Impeachment or the 14th Amendment: -Can Trump be barred from future office?

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