Sunday, April 14, 2024

Thought: Congress has made a decision that Trump can’t run for election

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On Thursday, the Supreme Court is deciding whether Donald Trump can’t be president anymore because he might have done something against the rules. The rules say that if someone who promised to do a good job breaks those rules by rebelling against the country or helping its enemies, they can’t be in charge.

The highest court in Colorado said Trump can’t run for president. They decided this because of what happened on January 6, 2021, when people attacked the Capitol while they were confirming who won the election. The court also looked at Trump’s plan to change the 2020 election result.

Now, Trump appealed, and the case is going to the Supreme Court. This decision might affect whether Trump can be on the voting list in 35 states where they question if he can run.

The main questions in this case are: Was January 6 an attack, and did Trump take part in it?

The Supreme Court can easily find answers by looking at the Capitol building, where Congress decided that January 6 was an attack, and Trump not only took part in it but also encouraged it. You might wonder when Congress voted on this. Well, it happened during Trump’s second impeachment in January and February 2021. The House and the Senate agreed that Trump was guilty of “encouraging an attack.”

This decision was made by most of the elected representatives after a public trial where Trump defended himself. It’s a strong point for the Supreme Court to consider, especially for the more conservative judges who usually say courts shouldn’t decide political matters and should listen to what lawmakers say. So, Congress deciding that Trump took part in an attack could be a convincing example for the Supreme Court.

Okay, so the thing is, the 14th Amendment doesn’t say you need votes to kick out someone who tried to start a rebellion, like in Congress or a jury. It doesn’t need a guilty verdict either. Even if the person is just accused of doing it, they can be disqualified.

When it comes to being in charge, it’s not a right but a special thing you get. In Colorado, they said Trump did start a rebellion, and that alone was enough to say he can’t run for office there.

But if we want more proof that Trump tried to start a rebellion, Congress already gave us some. The votes in Congress show that most of them think Trump caused the January 6 thing, and he shouldn’t be allowed to run for office. 232 out of 435 representatives and 57 out of 100 senators agreed on this. So, it’s like the voters already made a decision through Congress.

Most folks already show what Americans want. It’s true, not enough for kicking someone out (impeachment needs a big Senate vote), but plenty to say they can’t run again. No need for a super big vote, just a regular one is fine.

If people change their minds later, the Constitution has a way to let Trump be allowed back in: Section 3 of the 14th Amendment says if they change their minds, Congress can say he’s good with a big vote.

If Congress doesn’t do that, it’s like making fun of democracy and the Constitution to let Trump run again. If he can’t legally do it, he shouldn’t be on the 2024 list, or else the Constitution doesn’t mean much. We can’t choose which Constitution parts we like when we want, and we can’t ignore parts just because they give us problems.

That’s the big danger. We can’t fall for the “let people decide” talk. It sounds fair, but not following a clear Constitution rule might be the start of the end for our democracy and law. If one part of the Constitution is put aside, none of it is safe.

If we say “let people decide” about Trump, should we also say it for locking up journalists, like Trump said? Should we “let people decide” to take away voting rights from folks they don’t like? A democracy without a Constitution and law won’t last. We have to follow all the rules, including the 14th Amendment.

We know what Congress decided about Trump and January 6, and we shouldn’t ignore it. We can’t keep having more votes until Trump wins one or changes the result.

The Supreme Court might be hesitant to disqualify Trump based only on their own decision as a group of judges who weren’t elected. But they don’t have to. They can base their decision on what Congress already decided, making it both legally and politically valid. The Constitution is clear, Congress voted, and Trump’s disqualification is justified. If some people don’t agree, they can ask Congress to let Trump back in, as the Constitution allows.

What Congress did, Congress can change. That’s the clever part of the 14th Amendment, which the Supreme Court should fully support.

 

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