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‘Intriguing point’ in Trump’s Colorado appeal
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05 Jan 2024 / global news Print

‘Intriguing point’ in Trump’s Colorado appeal

A petition filed on behalf of former US president Donald Trump raises an “intriguing point” that could lead to his vice-presidential candidate taking office, according to a Harvard Law School professor.

Trump (pictured) is appealing a decision by the Colorado Supreme Court that he should be disqualified from appearing on the ballot for the Republican Party primary in the state next year.

A majority of the court found that Trump was disqualified from holding the office of president under section 3 of the 14th amendment to the US Constitution.

This section prohibits individuals that have engaged in “insurrection”, having previously taken an oath to support the constitution, from holding certain offices. The Colorado court decided that the prohibition covered the office of president.

Decision ‘only for Congress’

Writing in the New Yorker, Jeannie Suk Gersen says that the petition filed on behalf of Trump to the US Supreme Court argues that only Congress can decide on a presidential candidate’s qualification.

She writes that it includes “an intriguing point” that hinges on a sentence in the disqualification clause that has not previously been emphasised: “But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each house, remove such disability.”

According to Gersen, the petition argues that the clause in the US constitution is about holding office, and does not prevent anyone from running for, or being elected to office, as it is always possible for Congress to lift any prohibition.

12th amendment

Gersen also refers to a separate brief filed in support of Trump’s appeal on behalf of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).

This states that, even if the Colorado Supreme Court were correct that Trump could not take office on inauguration day, he would still be allowed to run, and then seek the removal of any alleged disqualification from Congress.

The NRSC refers to the 12th amendment of the US constitution, which says that: “If the president-elect shall have failed to qualify, then the vice-president elect shall act as president until a president shall have qualified.”

Gersen points out, however, that there is no guarantee that, if Trump is elected in November, Congress will lift his disqualification, as a two-thirds majority in both houses is needed.

Gazette Desk
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