Left-wing law professor Laurence Tribe is promoting a “wild” interpretation of the 14th Amendment to prevent former President Donald J. Trump from ever running for the White House again, a theory of dubious constitutionality.
Tribe appeared on Friday’s edition of CNN’s “Situation Room” where he explained an article penned by himself and former federal judge J. Michael Luttig for “The Atlantic” arguing that a clause in the amendment which was ratified in 1868 for the post-Civil War period applies to the modern era and that Trump should be excluded on the basis of having “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
“The argument is really that the Constitution couldn’t be clearer,” Tribe told host Wolf Blitzer. “It talks about insurrection or rebellion. But it also says that if you’ve taken an oath to uphold the Constitution, and thereafter give aid or comfort to the enemies of that Constitution, then you are disqualified, period. So, all of the charges against the president which, at the moment, don’t happen to include insurrection, are really beside the point.”
“That’s very interesting, but isn’t this, professor, an inherently subjective call?” Blitzer asked, noting that Tribe’s argument is far from clear-cut when it comes to its legality. “Are you concerned this could potentially be abused down the road?”
“It’s certainly problematic,” the professor admitted. “But that’s why the framers of the 14th Amendment put in a safeguard. They said, if it’s abused, all you need is two-thirds of each house in order to remove a disability, a disqualification.”
Tribe’s and Luttig’s radical twisting of the Constitution as a tool to block Trump from running was shot down by CNN Senior Legal Analyst Elie Honig who dismissed the theory put forth in the duo’s article as bunk.
CNN legal analyst rejects radical 14th Amendment theory banning Trump from runninghttps://t.co/H3UyjHR2OE
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) August 22, 2023
“These are two brilliant scholars,” Honig said earlier this week. “They’re correct to note that the 14th Amendment rightly bars someone who’s participated in insurrection or rebellion from holding future office. The problem is that the 14th Amendment tells us nothing about how that decision gets made, nor does any caselaw or statute that’s been passed. Does Congress decide? Is it the Senate? Is it the House? Is it a majority? Is it two-thirds? Is it a court? Is it a jury? Is it a judge?”
“And what they propose in the article is they say, ‘Well, it’s self-executing,’ which, that does not do it for me,’” Honig added, pointing out the obvious problems with invoking such an arcane and controversial theory. “What they’re proposing essentially is, ‘Well, every state, local, county official who handles ballots will just decide on their own whether he’s disqualified or not.’ That would lead to wild inconsistency and chaos, and I don’t think that’s a viable practical solution here.”
Professor Tribe’s fondness for the 14th Amendment as a useful tool to further the Democratic Party’s extremist agenda was also seen during the recent battle over raising the debt ceiling earlier this year when Senate Democrats used his crackpot legal reasoning to urge President Joe Biden to bypass Congress on upping the borrowing limit, something that he rejected to avoid a battle with the courts.
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