Dem Rep. Raskin unveils plan to legislatively disqualify Trump from presidency after Supreme Court's 14th Amendment ruling

 March 7, 2024

The U.S. Supreme Court this week, in unanimously reversing the Colorado Supreme Court's ruling last year to remove former President Donald Trump from the state's ballots, determined that only Congress, and not individual states, can declare a presidential candidate disqualified from holding office under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

Now some House Democrats, led by Rep. Jaime Raskin (D-MD), have wasted little time in following that determination from the Supreme Court and immediately launched an effort to legislatively disqualify Trump and others who "engaged in insurrection" from holding office, Axios reported.

Raskin, a known hater of Trump, is the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, served as an impeachment manager against Trump, and was a member of the now-defunct and overtly anti-Trump House Jan. 6 Select Committee.

Plan to legislatively disqualify Trump from the presidency

"Congress will have to try and act," Rep. Raskin told Axios of the Supreme Court's 14th Amendment ruling against Colorado's removal of Trump from its ballots, and asserted, "I'm working on it -- today."

He pointed to legislation he cosponsored in 2022 with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) that he'd like to revisit which, if passed into law, would create a civil litigation process for the federal government or private citizens to sue to have a candidate adjudicated as disqualified from holding office under the 14th Amendment.

"We are going to revise it in light of the Supreme Court's decision," Raskin said of the introduced legislation that never made it out of a committee when Democrats previously controlled the House.

He further suggested that the bill would be paired with a resolution he cosponsored with Wasserman Schultz -- again, which failed to move beyond a committee -- that would formally declare the Jan. 6 Capitol riot of 2021 to be an "insurrection" against the U.S. government, as well as disqualify all "participants" in that event from holding office under the 14th Amendment.

"I don't have a lot of hope that Speaker [Mike] Johnson (R-LA) will allow us to bring enforcement legislation to the floor, but we have to try and do it," Raskin told Axios, and added that if Democrats regain control of the House in November, this effort would be "one on a huge list of priorities" and that, "It's clearly something that we need to focus on."

Also shared his idea on CNN

Newsweek reported that Rep. Raskin also shared his plans to legislatively disqualify former President Trump from holding office during an appearance on CNN to discuss the Supreme Court's ruling that overrode Colorado's removal of Trump from the ballot.

"I'm working with a number of my colleagues -- including Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Eric Swalwell -- to revive legislation," Raskin explained, "to set up a process by which we could determine that someone who committed insurrection is disqualified by section three of the 14th amendment."

"The House of Representatives already impeached Donald Trump for participating in insurrection by inciting it," the Maryland congressman continued. "So, the House has already pronounced upon that, and there was also a 57 to 43 vote in the Senate."

"The question is whether Speaker Mike Johnson would allow us to bring this to the floor of the House," Raskin added, echoing the uncertainty he raised in comments to Axios.

Questions abound about the constitutionality and reality of Raskin's plan

While Rep. Raskin is clearly motivated by his dislike of former President Trump and desire to see him forever barred from holding presidential power, there appears to be one major problem with his plan -- the resurrected legislation has no chance of taking effect before November's election, and assuming Trump wins that election and returns to power while Democrats retake the House, any subsequent bills passed by a Democratic House would end up on President Trump's desk.

Perhaps Raskin will revise the bill to make it retroactive, a constitutionally dubious prospect, or add language to make the "insurrection" disqualification grounds for impeachment, but even that seems unlikely to pass constitutional muster and the whole thing reeks of yet another longshot partisan effort to "get Trump" that Democrats apparently can't help themselves from pursuing.

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