A handful of congressional Democrats are investigating whether former President Donald Trump can be prevented from holding elected office again through the application of an obscure portion of the 14th Amendment.
Section 3 of the amendment, enacted in 1868 and best known for enshrining the Equal Protection Clause, prevents any government official who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the US from holding office again.
According to The Hill, approximately a dozen Democratic lawmakers have publicly or privately spoken about applying Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to Trump, whom they accuse of inciting the Jan. 6 riot that disrupted the congressional certification of the 2020 election results.
“If anything the idea has waxed and waned,” liberal Harvard Law School professor emeritus Laurence Tribe told the outlet.
“I hear it being raised with considerable frequency these days both by media commentators and by members of Congress and their staffs, some of whom have sought my advice on how to implement Section 3.”
Tribe has met with the staffs of Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the House select committee investigating the riot, Jerry Nadler (D-NY), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.).
The offices of all three members did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.
“I continue to explore all legal paths to ensure that the people who tried to subvert our democracy are not in charge of it,” Wasserman Schultz said to The Hill.
It’s unclear what mechanism would be used to apply Section 3 to Trump. Some experts say the House and Senate could vote by a simple majority to find the 45th president engaged in insurrection against the government. Others, including Tribe, say the determination would need to be made by a federal court or a neutral fact-finding body.
Some left-wing groups are also exploring the possibility of applying the amendment without going through Congress.
One such group, Free Speech For People, has urged state election officials to apply the amendment if Trump decides to run for president again, which would prevent his name from showing up on ballots.
“Just as states are permitted (if not required) to exclude from the presidential ballot a candidate who is not a natural-born citizen, who is underage, or who has previously been elected twice as president, so too states should exclude from the ballot a candidate, such as Mr. Trump, who previously swore to support the Constitution, but then engaged in insurrection,” the group wrote in a letter sent to chief election officials in all 50 states last summer.
Trump was impeached by the House on Jan. 13 last year on a count of inciting the riot. The Senate later acquitted him of the charge.
While Trump has not formally announced his intent to run for president again, he has continuously hinted at it and is expected to make an announcement following the November midterm elections.