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‘Bad Precedent’: Top Scholar Backing Argument For Disqualifying Trump From 2024 Ballot Changes His Mind

A top scholar backing the theory that former President Donald Trump should be removed from the 2024 presidential ballot under the Fourteenth Amendment said Saturday he no longer believes this to be true.

Just a week after coming out in favor of the theory, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law professor Steven Calabresi changed his mind, arguing that Trump’s name should appear on the ballot and that Americans should vote against him. Several predominantly left-wing groups have filed lawsuits based on the idea that Trump is disqualified under the Fourteenth Amendment, which bars certain government officials who took an oath to the Constitution and then “engaged in insurrection” from holding office.

Calabresi said he no longer believes that the category of official listed in the amendment’s text that he applied to Trump, “an officer of the United States,” actually extends to the presidency.

“Trump is loathsome, but because of a technicality in the drafting of the Disqualification Clause of Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Clause does not apply to Trump,” he wrote a Reason article Saturday.

Four categories are listed in the amendment’s text: members of Congress, officers of the United States, members of any State legislature and executive or judicial officers of any State.

Calabresi nevertheless noted that he is a Never Trumper and “will vote for any Republican in the primaries over Trump or, if necessary for the Democratic Party’s nominee for President over Donald Trump.”

“At a minimum, this is a very muddled area of constitutional law, and it would set a bad precedent for American politics to not list a former president’s name on election ballots given the confused state of the law surrounding Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment,” he wrote.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), an organization funded by left-wing donors like George Soros’ Foundation to Promote Open Society, filed the initial lawsuit to remove Trump from Colorado’s ballot Sept. 6. Free Speech for People, which has launched a campaign with the Mi Familia Vota Education Fund urging state election officials to remove him from the ballot, filed a lawsuit in Minnesota shortly after.

Similar lawsuits have been filed in Michigan. Oklahoma and New Mexico, among other states.

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Katelynn Richardson

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Katelynn Richardson

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