Q&A of the Day – Will Trump Be Dumped from State Ballots?

Q&A of the Day – Will Trump Be Dumped from State Ballots?  

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods.   

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com  

Social: @brianmuddradio 

iHeartRadio: Use the Talkback feature – the microphone button on our station’s page in the iHeart app.    

Today’s Entry: @brianmuddradio How concerned are you about the attempts to bounce Trump from the ballot in CO & Minn? Looks like the fix is in w/the judge in CO.  

Bottom Line: My short answer is not at all. But given that the first trial is underway in Colorado, seeking to prevent Donald Trump from appearing on the state’s ballot next year, with the Minnesota challenge soon to follow, it’s a good time to discuss what’s happening here. What’s really happening in these two cases, and with one that’s already been brought and dismissed, is a sheer act of desperation which goes to show just how fearful the left is of Donald Trump being elected President of the United States once again. The legal challenges seeking to keep Trump off of ballots have invoked the 14th Amendment’s “Disqualification Clause” which was instituted following the Civil War, which sought to prevent former members of the Confederacy from holding office within the reconstructed union. So, let’s start there.  

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution reads like this:  

  • 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. 

A lot of constitutional law is complicated. This clause, however, is rather straightforward in part due to the level of specificity within in. So, let’s take a look at the legal challenges before courts in Colorado and Minnesota. The legal challenge in Colorado has been brought by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. On their website, in addition to attempting to fundraise off of this lawsuit they brag: On Donald Trump’s first full day in the Oval Office, CREW sued him for violating the Emoluments Clauses of the U.S. Constitution, because of the unconstitutional corruption that would result from his refusal to divest from his business interests. They also state: While the most corrupt president in American history is no longer in office, CREW’s work is far from done — in some ways, we are just getting started. This is the time to push for accountability for Trump’s abuses of power, particularly in his last days in office and during the armed insurrection on January 6th, 2021, and to monitor how those in Trump’s orbit profit from his presidency in the private sector. Despite their obvious animus for the former, and perhaps future President of the United States, they claim to be a non-partisan organization. And notably, despite their established track record in attempting to “get Trump”, they’ve yet to be successful. The case they brag about bringing against Trump on his first day in office was dismissed. And that’s a preview of where this case is headed. But before discussing why this challenge will fail, I’ll address the point about the judge in this case. 

The trial is taking place before Judge Sarah Wallace, an appointee of the state’s Democrat governor, who is shown as having donated last year to The Colorado Turnout Project. That’s notable because the PAC stated at the time of her donation that: The Colorado Turnout Project aims to prevent violent insurrections by addressing this problem at its source– if we vote out pariahs like Representative Boebert, we can turn CO Blue once and for all. Clearly a person donating to that organization is expressing a clear political preference. Facts in hand the Trump team asked this judge to recuse herself. She refused stating that “she didn’t remember the donation”. For that reason, your skepticism about her objectivity is warranted. At the same time, should she rule against Trump’s interests, it only bolsters his team’s appeals process which was already rock solid to begin with. As for the why... 

Donald Trump has been indicted in four criminal cases with 91 different charges brought against him. Not one of those charges is for insurrection, which is the premise of this and any case, a la Minnesota’s seeking to remove Trump from the ballet. This includes one of the criminal cases being entirely brought based on Trump’s alleged role in the January 6th riot at the Capitol and alleged role in attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. What this means is that Trump could be found guilty in all of these cases and on all of these counts and yet would still not be guilty of doing what’s necessary for one to be disqualified from running for president or holding the office of the presidency. It’s a patently absurd legal argument to suggest voters shouldn’t even have the option to vote for a presidential candidate due to a crime he’s not even legally alleged to have committed. And, that for that matter, a charge that he was acquitted of having committed by Congress during impeachment proceedings – which stands as the legal precedent pertaining to this conversation. But there are also two other reasons why these are absurd cases.  

You might have noticed when I read the section cited in the Constitution that it specifically states offices that are disqualifying under that clause: No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President. Why, if this clause was meant to prevent someone from becoming president, does it state that one can’t be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or an elector of the President and Vice-President, but not also specifically state President or Vice President of the United States? To the extent that there is any grey territory in that clause the argument is now that a man who hasn’t even been charged with insurrection criminally and who was acquitted of it congressionally is not only guilty of it and should be disqualified from an office that also isn’t included in the clause...and even then that doesn’t account for a legal principal known as “the rule of democracy”, which is a legal precedent whereby the judiciary is to pay credence to the will of the people to govern themselves including the candidates they want to represent their interests.  

For all of those reasons, even if a judge who might have it out for Trump is hearing a case in Colorado, and even if something similar were to occur with the case in Minnesota, it’s beyond unlikely that the rulings would stand on appeal. On that note, these aren’t even the first cases to attempt to do this to Trump this year. It was only a month ago that the United States Supreme Count put an end to an attempt to disqualify Donald Trump from state ballots. An unknown and non-credible Republican challenger for president, John Anthony Castro, sued to disqualify Trump under the insurrection clause. Federal courts dismissed his case through he continued to appeal all of the way to the United States Supreme Court which refused to hear the case. Try as they might to disqualify him, the only way Trump will be defeated next year is if it were to happen at the ballot box as opposed to keeping him off of the ballots at the box. 

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