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Turley Rebuts Baude and Paulsen

Two highly respected conservative legal experts, William Baude and Michael Paulsen, wrote a long (126-page) article for the University of Pennsylvania Law Review explaining in minute detail why Sec. 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment disqualifies Donald Trump from holding any federal or state office (Executive summary: He participated in an insurrection). The article has 454 footnotes citing its sources. Despite it being published in a university law school journal, it is quite readable, even for people without a law degree. Here is a link to the full paper.

Having such well-respected conservative lawyers present such a detailed case rattled some cages. It has been downloaded over 70,000 times already, giving it widespread distribution. It might give some secretaries of state ideas (like refusing to put Trump on the ballot). Their article could serve as an amicus brief if a case comes up and makes it to the Supreme Court.

Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University and an all-purpose Trump shill, decided the article needed to be rebutted. So instead of writing a 100-page article rebutting Baude and Paulsen point by point and submitting it for peer review to some other law school journal, he wrote an 1,100-word op-ed for The Hill, which is definitely not peer-reviewed. Nevertheless, it is of some interest, even though Turley starts out by saying people looking for ways to disqualify Trump are like people looking for Sasquatch. If a case about the Fourteenth Amendment were to end up in the Supreme Court, Turley would make a good lawyer for Trump.

Turley quickly gets to the heart of the matter: Was what happened on Jan. 6 an insurrection? If it was and Trump engaged in it, then he is disqualified. Baude and Paulsen say it was and Turley says it was not. His view is that it was a protest that became a riot. Participating in an insurrection is a disqualification. Participating in a riot is not. To support his view, he cites a CBS poll that says 76% of the respondents called it a protest gone too far. Traditionally, constitutional cases are not resolved by taking a public poll.

Turley admits that Trump sulked in his office for hours while the insurrection/coup attempt/riot was going on, but sulking is also not a disqualification. He also says that Jack Smith did not charge the former president with leading or participating in an insurrection. Of course, Smith most likely decided to pick charges that would be the easiest to prove in court.

Turley also argues that it couldn't have been an insurrection because Trump didn't have well-formulated plans for what to do after the insurrection succeeded. Actually, he did. He would just take the oath of office again on Jan. 20 and keep on going. If this is all a senior law professor and Trump supporter can come up with to refute a detailed 126-page argument, Trump had better hope this doesn't go to the Supreme Court. (V)

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