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Supreme Court says only Congress can bar a candidate, like Trump, from the presidency for insurrection − 3 essential reads

Jeff Inglis, The Conversation, The Conversation on

Published in News & Features

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled, in a unanimous decision, that the state of Colorado cannot bar former President Donald Trump from appearing on Colorado’s presidential ballot under the provisions of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The text of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment states, in full:

“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”

The ruling said states may decide who is eligible to hold state offices, but only Congress may decide who is eligible to hold federal offices.

Writing for The Conversation U.S. as far back as 2021, several scholars have explained aspects of this part of the Constitution, how it was intended, and the legal and political considerations surrounding its function. They give context to the court’s ruling and what it means for the country now.

In early 2021, Gerard Magliocca, a law professor at Indiana University, pointed out that up until that time, “Section 3 of the 14th Amendment was an obscure part of the U.S. Constitution.”


But this provision had an important purpose, he wrote:

“It prohibits current or former military officers, along with many current and former federal and state public officials, from serving in a variety of government offices if they ‘shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion’ against the United States Constitution.”

The Supreme Court’s ruling did not decide whether Trump had or had not engaged in insurrection.

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