If a person “engaged in insurrection,” they are prohibited from holding federal office. Even though similar campaigns to stop other Republicans from being on the ballot have failed, two groups are already planning a national campaign to remove Trump from the ballot because of the January 6.
As part of their campaign, under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, both the Free Speech For People and Mi Familia Vota are urging state secretaries not to permit the former president to run for office.
This post-Civil War law prohibits anybody who has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution from serving in federal office if they have “engaged in insurrection” against the U.S. or “given aid or comfort” to its “enemies.” This includes members of Congress.
Earlier, Free Speech For People filed challenges against additional Republicans in office, including Reps. Madison Cawthorn and Marjorie Taylor Greene claimed that their conduct on January 6 and support for annulling the 2020 election results constituted the prohibited conduct. While speaking at a Trump rally before the riots, Cawthorn and Greene did not participate in the violence; Greene has claimed to have been a “victim” alongside other MPs.
Despite stating that it would bring similar legal actions against Trump, Free Speech For People refuses to give ABC News any other information.
Trump has maintained that he did nothing improper on January 6. A representative’s requests for comment on this story were not met immediately.
The co-founder of Free Speech For People, John Bonifaz, says Donald Trump’s eligibility will be challenged legally, but he will also face scrutiny from the secretary of state and chief election officials. Therefore, a legal challenge may be unnecessary for the secretary of state to fulfill their duty and remove Donald Trump from the ballot.
No elected person has been disqualified from office due to any of the organization’s prior lawsuits. In Greene’s case, an administrative law judge in Georgia heard the case and ruled she could remain on the ballot.
However, Free Speech For People and Mi Familia Vota say that the steps taken by Trump in the wake of the Capitol attack last year called for a response akin to the one they are initiating.
According to Bonifaz, under the disqualification clause, secretaries of state and other chief election officials have a “duty” to prevent Trump from running for public office. Héctor Sánchez Barba, executive director and CEO of Mi Familia Vota, supports the organization’s goals, which according to Sánchez Barba, the organization is on the frontlines of protecting democracy and making it a better and more inclusive democracy via civic participation.
The disqualification clause has only prevented one elected person actively involved in the Capitol Riots from holding a position of public trust. A New Mexico federal judge used the disqualification clause to remove Otero County Commissioner and “Cowboys for Trump” founder Couy Griffin from office; this is the first time a court has deemed the events of January 6 to be an “insurrection” and the only time it has been used to do so in the past 150 years.
The burden of proof in Greene’s case rested with the challengers, who, according to Judge Charles Beaudrot, “failed to prove” their case by a preponderance of the evidence. In his 19-page ruling, Beaudrot also stated insufficient evidence to prove that Greene engaged in insurrection against the government or provided aid or comfort to its enemies.