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In the Case Regarding Trump’s Ballot Eligibility, Concerned Voters Present their Own Arguments to the Supreme Court

Credits: (Brookings Institution)

When the high-profile dispute regarding former President Donald Trump’s eligibility for a second term reached the U.S. Supreme Court last month, it was Larry Coben’s centenarian father, Jack Coben, a Navy veteran in Pennsylvania, who spurred him to contribute to the legal discourse at the nation’s highest court.

Feeling uneasy about the situation and opposed to Trump’s potential return to the presidency, Jack Coben encouraged his son, a 75-year-old practicing lawyer, to submit an “amicus curiae” brief, translating to “friend of the court” in Latin.

Larry Coben, who had previously filed such briefs on behalf of an auto safety group, embarked on an exploration of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, a 155-year-old constitutional provision central to the case, and its potential application to the former president.

Donald Trump (Credits: Vox)

His analysis led him to the conclusion that it is premature to determine Section 3’s relevance, given that it pertains to holding office rather than running for office.

In his amicus brief, Larry Coben argued that the Supreme Court should overturn the decision of Colorado’s highest court, which ruled that Trump is disqualified from the presidency due to his involvement in the January 6, 2021, Capitol assault.

“I felt like it was important to at least share our view that [Section 3] is clearly self-executing, doesn’t require anything,” Larry Coben stated.

“The bottom line of my analysis and conclusion is that he will be disqualified if he’s ever elected, and the only way he gets around that is if two-thirds of Congress remove the disqualification. It’s just not the time, because he’s not holding office.”

The upcoming Supreme Court hearing, scheduled for Thursday, will delve into arguments surrounding whether Section 3 of the 14th Amendment renders Trump ineligible for the presidency.

Both Trump and a group of six Colorado voters challenging his eligibility have urged the justices to expedite a decision, providing clarity for voters before they participate in the electoral process.

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