Last month we devoted a Sensemaker to the possibility that Trump had already disqualified himself from running for president again because of the provisions of Section Three of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. It’s only fair therefore to note that while a lot of attention has been paid to the Section Three argument since it was articulated at length by two law professors in a forthcoming University of Pennsylvania Law Review article, there has also been pushback. The argument rests on the idea that the president is an “officer of the United States”. If so, Section Three would rule Trump out of contention because it clearly bars anyone who’s “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” or “given aid or comfort” to said rebels from running for almost any office. “President” is not mentioned specifically but the UPenn article assumes it’s covered by the phrase “officer of the United States”, which is. Michael Mukasey, a former US Attorney General under the younger Bush, now writes in the WSJ that an 1888 Supreme Court ruling says “officer” covers only appointees, not elected officials – and that the current Chief Justice, John Roberts, has confirmed in an unrelated 2010 ruling that “the people do not vote for ‘Officers of the United States’.” Trump’s fate returns, therefore, to voters.
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