Former Clinton Administration Official: Legally Bar Trump From Running

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich recommended using the 14th Amendment to prevent former President Donald Trump from running for another term in 2024. Reich, who served under former President Bill Clinton said that the amendment “clearly bars” Trump from seeking federal office.

Reich wrote on social media that not only “should Trump be prosecuted, but Section 3 of the 14th Amendment clearly bars anyone from holding office who has “engaged in insurrection” against the United States of America. He should be disqualified from running for president. It’s that simple.”

The Amendment reads that “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…as an officer 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.”

The exact congressional mechanism for such a disqualification is unclear since it was originally written in the context of the end of the Civil War. The Confiscation Act of 1862, which was revised in 1948, could be used as the legal mechanism to declare an individual having been part of an “insurrection or rebellion” against the federal government. 

One individual who was targeted under the 14th Amendment’s disqualification clause was former Gen. Robert E. Lee, whose ban was posthumously lifted in 1975. 

Until recently, this power has been used just once since the end of Reconstruction against a member of the Socialist Party from taking office as a U.S. representative after the First World War, though Rep. Victor Berger was later allowed to enter Congress. 

Since that time, Otero County, New Mexico commissioner Couy Griffin was unable to hold office due to a federal judge’s order. Griffin allegedly participated in the protests at the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021 protests.

This is not the first significant discussion about the power of the 14th Amendment recently. Trump announced that if he was elected in 2024, he would end birthright citizenship for the children of illegal aliens, which would be interpreted under the amendment.