In the newly released final report, the House committee investigating January 6 pushed for Donald Trump to be blocked from regaining the presidency or holding other government posts under the provisions of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which blocks those involved in insurrection from holding such office.
A county official in New Mexico who participated in the Capitol riot and was criminally charged for it was previously booted from office on the basis of these same constitutional rules, but challenges to the eligibility for re-election of several Republicans in the House citing these standards were unsuccessful. The riot panel’s report promotes adopting a uniform set of standards for implementing the restrictions in that amendment. “Congressional committees of jurisdiction should consider creating a formal mechanism for evaluating whether to bar those individuals identified in this Report under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment from holding future federal or state office,” as the doc outlined it.
The report adds that panel investigators believe “those who took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution and then, on January 6th, engaged in insurrection can appropriately be disqualified and barred from holding government office—whether federal or state, civilian or military—absent at least two-thirds of Congress acting to remove the disability pursuant to Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
Adopting a systematized instead of more reactive approach for dealing with potential involvement in insurrection by those seeking federal or state office could no doubt help with efficiency and guard any decisions arising from this process from later challenges, no matter the stage of legal procedure at which the evaluation is completed and any formal blocks on running for office — affirming the principles of the 14th Amendment — are implemented.
Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the latter of whom is on the riot panel, introduced a House bill establishing specific procedures for implementing the relevant provisions of the 14th Amendment in federal court in Washington D.C. That bill would allow civil action by both the U.S. Attorney General and individuals living wherever the challenged candidate is running. Losing parties would be allowed to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. The bill defines both the attack on the Capitol and “the attempt to bypass constitutional order and obstruct through corrupt means the counting of certified electoral votes of the several States… on January 6, 2021, with intent to displace the lawfully elected President of the United States or thwart the will of the majority of electors” as insurrection. In early November, the bill was referred for consideration by the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties on the House Judiciary Committee.