Daniel Hemel on Using Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to Bar Trump from Holding Office Again

Disqualifying Insurrectionists and Rebels: A How-To Guide

In recent days, several scholars and lawmakers have suggested that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment might be used to bar Donald Trump and some of his allies from ever holding federal or state office again. The Section 3 route is a plausible alternative, or potentially a supplement, to the more traditional route for sanctioning state criminals: impeachment. But a number of unresolved questions remain regarding Section 3’s scope as well as the process by which the lifetime ban can be invoked. Here, I flag the most important questions, answer some of them, and offer tentative guidance to lawyers and lawmakers seeking to apply Section 3 to individuals who participated in or abetted the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol.

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