The Democratic Party should “sue right now” to block another Donald Trump presidential candidacy, using the 14th Amendment ban on insurrectionist officeholders from taking power again, constitutional law scholar Alan B. Morrison declared Sunday.
Televised hearings of the House Jan. 6 committee show Trump played a key role in battling to overthrow the results of a legitimate presidential election, Morrison noted in a column in The Hill.
“There are no longer any innocent explanations” for what Trump on Jan. 6, 2021, noted Morrison, a constitutional law professor and associate dean at George Washington University Law School.
Testimony has demonstrated that Trump’s repeated claims of a stolen election were completely baseless, and that his only chance to remain in power was to block the ratification of American voters’ choice of Joe Biden as president by Congress, Morrison noted.
Trump also knew that “some in the crowd assembled to hear him speak” before the Capitol riot were armed, that a mob was heading to the building, and that it was “clearly in his power to call off the insurrection — but instead of trying to stop the violence, he chose to do nothing,” Morrison wrote.
Section 3 of the 14th Amendment disqualifies a person from being president who, while holding a federal office, participated in or supported an insurrection against the United States, Morrison pointed out.
“That prohibition must surely apply to Donald Trump,” and it should be used to stop him now from making another run at the presidency, he added.
The Democratic Party, on behalf of all of its candidates, should file suit in federal court “right now,” seeking a ruling that Trump participated in the insurrection and obtaining an “order precluding him from even being a candidate for president,” said Morrison.
If Trump decided to fight the suit, at the very least, it would force his hand to quickly reveal if he’s running, Morrison noted. He would also have to respond to discovery in the court action, “including being subjected to a deposition in which he would have to answer questions under oath,” Morrison pointed out.
He could invoke the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, but it would be awkward. During his 2016 campaign, he once asked: “If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?”
“Will this lawsuit succeed? No one can know for sure,” Morrison wrote. “But it seems as if there is nothing to lose — or at least not if the Department of Justice does not indict Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection.”
Check out the full column in The Hill here.