Dem 51
image description
GOP 49
image description

The 14th Amendment Will Rise Again--Today

As noted above, voters want Donald Trump's legal issues adjudicated before the election. The four criminal cases against Trump aren't the only ones out there. There is also the small matter of the Colorado Supreme Court ruling that Trump is not eligible to be president on account of that pesky 14th Amendment. Trump didn't take that well and asked the Supreme Court to put Colorado in its place. The battle on that will happen today, as the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the case this morning.

This will be the first time the Court has been asked to explain what exactly Sec. 3 of the 14th Amendment means. The hearing will last 80 minutes. Trump's team will get 40 minutes, the plaintiffs will get 30 minutes, and Colorado's solicitor general will get 10 minutes. The lead plaintiff is a 91-year-old Colorado woman, Norma Anderson, a Republican who was formerly majority leader of the state Senate. She says that she sued to save democracy.

There are many ways the Court could worm its way out of an uncomfortable case. First, it could say that the president is not an "officer" of the United States (the clause applies only to "officers.") Second, it could rule that the Jan. 6 coup attempt was not an "insurrection" in the sense of the 14th Amendment. Third, it could state that Trump did not "engage" in the insurrection, if there was one, because he didn't go to the Capitol himself (although according to some reports, he tried to). Fourth, it could punt and say the clause is not self-enforcing and requires Congress to pass a law defining "officer," "insurrection," and "engage." Fifth, it could say that someone kicking Trump off the ballot violates his right to free speech under the First Amendment. Sixth, it could decide that the 14th Amendment applies only to Confederate officers. There are lots of ways to weasel out of this unpleasant situation and no doubt some of the justices are trying to find the most convincing one. (V)

This item appeared on Read it Monday through Friday for political and election news, Saturday for answers to reader's questions, and Sunday for letters from readers.                     State polls                     All Senate candidates