Senate Majority Leader Democrat Chuck Schumer said that he might support using the 14th Amendment to bar former President Trump from office. Schumer said that the Democrats would get together to discuss whether to use the 14th amendment.
The Senate passed the 14th Amendment in 1866. It forbids people who have engaged in insurrection against the United States from occupying any elected, military, or civil office unless they get two-thirds approval from both the House and the Senate.
The amendment was initially aimed at ensuring that former Confederates do not serve in the American government after the Civil War. Section Three of the 14th Amendment gives Congress the right to enforce provisions mentioned in the article through appropriate legislation.
It might be possible for Congress to pass a law and bar Trump from becoming the president ever again.
Uncertainty about who has the power to disqualify Trump
Democrat Senator Tim Kaine believes that Republican senators might also be open to invoking the 14th Amendment against Trump. However, it is not clear who has the power to decide whether a government official deserves disqualification due to involvement in an activity deemed as inciting insurrection. Some argue that it is the courts, not Congress, who has this power.
“There is a great deal of obvious political risk in having the Congress just make such determinations by majority vote and potentially disqualifying from office members of the minority party with little evidence and through an entirely partisan political process,” Keith Whittington, a Princeton University professor of politics, told VOA News.
Whittington states that if Democrats were to ban Trump from the presidency by using their majority power in Congress, Republicans could do the same when they take majority control. With that precedent, Republicans could accuse Democrat leaders of speech that led to protests and eventual riots. Senate Majority Whip Democrat Dick Durbin has doubts about using the 14th Amendment against Trump. The amendment does not explicitly define how to determine when an individual has participated in an insurrection.
Senator John Thune is one of the few Republicans open to a resolution censuring Trump. However, he insists that the resolution has to be “effective.” Thune will not support a resolution that cites the 14th Amendment since he doesn’t believe it will garner enough support.
Republican Senator Ron Johnson wants the Senate to move on from targeting Trump. Not many lawmakers, Democrat or Republican, have expressed much interest in censuring Trump. Republican Ana Navarro hit back at her fellow party members who acquit Trump.
“We’re not talking about sending Trump to jail. We’re not talking about taking away his property. This trial is about setting the record of history straight and setting a precedent, and making sure that this does not happen again. So if they lived through what we just saw, if they just saw how close they came to being… harmed, to being actually harmed, we saw them running, we saw them running in fear, these senators, and they’re still going to go and act like cult members and not vote to set the record straight for history? They are going to be maligned in history,” Navarro said in an interview with ABC.