OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
A left-leaning U.S. Supreme Court justice has even questioned Colorado’s insane justification for removing former President Donald Trump from the state’s presidential election.
In an audio recording from the Supreme Court on Thursday, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson — who was appointed by President Joe Biden — pointed out a clear issue with Colorado’s argument that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment permits the removal of Trump from the state’s presidential ballot. The recording was broadcast on C-SPAN and uploaded to the social media platform X.
Jackson essentially made the point that the presidency is not mentioned in the third section of the Fourteenth Amendment.
“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”
Jackson was correct.
The disqualification for “insurrection or rebellion” also extended to electors running for vice president and president, as well as congressional seats. Added to the list was “any office, civil or military.” It did not, however, specifically address the presidency.
Jackson questioned Jason Murray, the lawyer for the group trying to remove Trump from Colorado’s ballot, and she presented a compelling historical case, voiced doubts about Colorado’s reading of Section 3, and ultimately acknowledged both the original meaning and judicial restraint.
“Can you speak to the argument that really Section 3 was about preventing the South from rising again in the context of these sort of local elections, as opposed to focusing on the presidency?” she asked.
Jackson clarified that she had not inquired about ballot access in general when Murray made an odd remark about states controlling access to the voting booth.
Murray went on to say that the framers of the 14th Amendment intended to bar “charismatic rebels” from holding any position in the federal government, including the presidency.
“But then why didn’t they put the word ‘president’ in the very enumerated list in Section 3?” she asked.
“The thing that really is troubling to me is, I totally understand your argument, but they were listing people that were barred, and ‘president’ is not there. And so, I guess that just makes me worry that maybe they weren’t focusing on the president,” she added.
Jackson continued by pointing out that the presidential and vice-presidential electors were listed by the amendment’s drafters. That too, she said, leads her to believe that the presidency was not inadvertently left out.
A stumbling In response, Murray cited a recent exchange between Republican Sen. Justin S. Morrill of Vermont and Democratic Sen. Reverdy Johnson of Maryland, a former Whig and U.S. Attorney General.
Murray claims that when Johnson questioned Morrill about the absence of the president and vice president from the framers of Section 3, Morrill responded, “We have,” seemingly alluding to the word “any office.”
But Jackson saw the issue right away.
“Yes, but doesn’t that at least suggest ambiguity?” she asked.
“And this sort of ties into Justice [Brett] Kavanaugh’s point. In other words, we had a person right there, at the time, saying what I’m saying. The language here doesn’t seem to include president. Why is that? And so if there’s an ambiguity, why would we construe it to, as Justice Kavanaugh pointed out, uh, against democracy?” Jackson asked.
🚨𝗕𝗥𝗘𝗔𝗞𝗜𝗡𝗚 – Even the liberal justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson, nominated by Joe Biden, sees how ridiculous the argument to keep Donald Trump off of state ballots using the 14th amendment is.🔥
Ketanji Brown Jackson:
“I’m saying, the, the language here doesn’t seem to… pic.twitter.com/T5JAdET0ak
— Right Angle News Network (@Rightanglenews) February 8, 2024