Today, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in Trump v. Anderson, the former president’s challenge to a decision by the Colorado Supreme Court that ruled him ineligible to appear on the state’s presidential ballot. Common Cause filed an amicus brief in the case and released the following statement after the argument concluded.
Statement of Kathay Feng, Common Cause Vice President of Programs
In our nation no one is above the law. Not even former presidents. It is telling that Donald Trump’s lawyer in the Supreme Court today made no effort to assert that his client had not fomented an insurrection. He did not refute that Donald Trump on January 6 directed heavily-armed militants to go the Capitol to “fight like hell” to disrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election as part of his attempt to deny the will of the people and steal the election.
Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is clear. If a president breaks their oath to support the Constitution by fomenting insurrection, that person cannot hold office. But Trump’s lawyer argued to the Justices that “even if a candidate were an admitted insurrectionist”, that the 14th Amendment still allows that candidate to run for, and even win, office. This defies the U.S. Constitution.
Trump’s lawyer twisted and turned to create what Justice Sotomayor speculated was a “gerrymandered rule” “designed to benefit only your client”, and thus that the 14th Amendment ban on insurrectionists should not apply to the president.
If the president is allowed to stage an insurrection in order to overturn an election that he lost, without consequence, we run the risk of descending into a future of dictators seizing power through coups. We cannot allow a candidate who broke his Constitutional oath by refusing to support a peaceful transfer of power, and instead fomenting an attack on the Capitol and stoking violence against election administrators and judicial officials, to defy the people’s will and our rule of law. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will recognize this ongoing threat as it weighs the pivotal case.
To read the Common Cause amicus brief in the case, click here.