Straight Talk

Trump unqualified to hold public office

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Letter to the Editor

The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States (ratified in 1868 shortly after the Civil War) was intended to be an authoritative definition of what it means to be a citizen of the United States and to guarantee equal treatment to all persons under the law by requiring the states to abide by the Bill of Rights. Ironically, it wasn’t until nearly 100 years later (in the 1960’s) that most of the civil liberties outlined in the Bill of Rights were applied to the states.

The XIV Amendment has been contentious from the beginning. The first conflict occurred in 1896 when the infamous decision (Plessy v. Ferguson) asserted that “equal but separate accommodations” for blacks on railroad cars did not violate the “equal protection under the laws” clause.

By defending the constitutionality of racial segregation, the Court paved the way for the repressive Jim Crow laws of the South.

Then there was Gideon v. Wainwright in 1963, having to do with “due process.” Then, in 1996, in the United States v. Virginia, policies regarding women serving in the military were changed. Remaining unresolved, however, a woman’s right to register for Selective Service. 

Presently another constitutional crisis looms large on the framework of U.S. law and order in regard to the fareaching XIV Amendment, which states very clearly in Section 3: “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.”

This is the “Disqualification Clause” and, as Judge Sarah Wallace has ruled former President Donald Trump guilty of insurrection in that he actively primed the anger of his supporters on January 6th, 2021, with the clear intent to incite political violence and specifically directed that brute force at the Capital of the United States with the transparent and precise intent to overturn an election he knew he’d lost. That act renders Donald Trump explicitly ineligible to hold office under the XIV Amendment.

However, even though the XIV Amendment appears crystal-clear, indisputably plain and the disqualifying clause seemingly specifically written to prevent men like Donald Trump from gaining power and dominance in a democratic form of government, a glitch exists (according to Judge Wallace) having to do with Trump being a former president.

We should view Donald Trump, not as a former president but in a simpler form as an ordinary citizen, a voter, an “elector,” like you, like me. As such, under the conditions set forth in the XIV Amendment Section 3, Donald John Trump (an insurrectionist) is unqualified to hold any public office.

David Snell