Abcarian: In an Ideal World, Trump Wouldn’t Qualify to Run. Does the Supreme Court Embrace that Ideal?

Abcarian: In a righteous world, Trump couldn’t run. Does the Supreme Court live in that world?

The upcoming Supreme Court hearing on Thursday regarding a Colorado case involving former President Trump’s role in the events of January 6, 2021, raises crucial questions about his eligibility to run for office again.

Anticipating the outcome, it seems likely that the conservative majority of the court will favor Trump, permitting his name on the ballot. This decision may appear as a pragmatic exit strategy for a court grappling with its own controversies and wary of stoking further political tensions in an already volatile election year.

My perspective on this case has been complex, especially since the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling last December citing Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. This section prohibits individuals who have supported or engaged in insurrection against the U.S. government from holding office.

Donal Trump
Donal Trump (Credits: Los Angeles Times)

Despite arguments from Trump’s legal allies suggesting that Section 3 does not apply to him, citing technicalities such as his status as a former president or the distinction between seeking and holding office, the Colorado voters challenging Trump’s candidacy argue convincingly against such semantics.

Trump’s actions, driven by self-interest and a disregard for the law and Constitution, raise legitimate concerns about his fitness for public office. However, there’s a part of me that believes allowing him to remain on the ballot could offer a resolution beneficial to the nation.

Ideally, President Biden would secure a decisive victory in November, relegating Trump to the sidelines. Yet, Trump’s refusal to accept the results of the 2020 election has prolonged a national crisis, transforming his defeat into a rallying cry for his supporters and a persistent source of division.

Moreover, the legal debate surrounding Section 3 of the 14th Amendment has brought attention to a once-obscure constitutional provision, prompting a necessary reflection on its relevance today.

Historians like David Blight and others, in a friend-of-the-court brief, argue that Section 3 applies to Trump, disqualifying him from future office. Their interpretation aligns with the original intent of the amendment, crafted in the aftermath of the Civil War to prevent former Confederate leaders from holding federal office.

The recent resurgence of this constitutional provision underscores its enduring significance. Trump’s attempt to undermine the democratic process and his subsequent legal battles underscore the importance of upholding the rule of law.

As Trump faces state and federal charges related to his actions, including allegations of election fraud and incitement of insurrection, the judiciary is tasked with upholding the principles enshrined in the Constitution.

In the face of Trump’s assertions of executive immunity, courts have reaffirmed that no individual, not even a former president, is above the law. The Supreme Court’s decision in the Colorado case will serve as a crucial test of its commitment to constitutional principles and the rule of law.

I'm Richard Rosales, I cover political news and ongoing US elections.