DEMOCRATS are weighing a "Plan B" to ban Donald Trump from returning to office using the 14th Amendment as an impeachment conviction is unlikely.
Prior to Thursday's trial hearing, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer did not reject the idea of a provision of the Fourteenth Amendment.
"We're first going to finish the impeachment trial and then Democrats will get together and discuss where we go next," Schumer said Thursday when he was asked about using the 14th Amendment, according to Fox News.
The question arose prior to the fourth day of Trump's second impeachment trial.
To get the former president impeached, 67 votes – including at east 17 Republicans – are needed in the Senate.
In the case that an impeachment conviction is not decided on, lawmakers could declare that Trump engaged in "insurrection or rebellion" under the 14th Amendment.
The move would prevent Trump from running for presidency again.
This would require a majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Two-thirds of each chamber can subsequently vote to lift the ban.
Section three of the fourteenth amendment states: "No person shall [hold any United States or state office] who, having previously taken an oath, . . .as an officer of the United States, . . . to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the (United States), or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof."
Congress passed the amendment – which grants equal protection to United States citizens – on June 13, 1866.It was later ratified on July 9, 1868.
As Trump's defense team is set to present their case, President Joe Biden revealed: "I'm just anxious to see what my Republican friends do. If they stand up."
Democrat Senator Chris Coons praised Sen. Tim Kaine in January for having pushed the idea of using the 14th Amendment to stop Trump from returning to the White House.
Coons said, according to Fox News, that Kaine was discussing "a censure resolution that would also specifically include the elements of the 14th Amendment that lead to disqualification from future office."
He explained further: "That's intriguing to me and something I'm willing to look at the bottom line here is we have to deliver accountability for the events of January 6."
Last month, senators were plotting a fallback plan to have Trump blocked from holding office ever again as his impeachment trial appeared increasingly "doomed."
Kaine and Republican Susan Collins urged support for a vote to censure Trump.
The Democrats and Republicans currently control 50 seats each in the Senate, meaning at least 17 Republicans would have to vote with all 50 Democrats in order for Trump to be convicted.
A censure by either or both houses of Congress has no force of law if the person being censured is not a member of Congress, NBC reported last month.
How would censure work?
It’s all based on the reading of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.
The notion that a censure could block Trump from holding future federal office is based on how Sens Kaine and Collins are reading Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.
The section states: "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."
However, there is a continuing legal question about whether the president is, in fact, "an officer of the United States."
The phrase appears often in the law, but the courts have yet to pin down the meaning when it comes to the person at the top of the executive branch.
Assuming the phrase does apply to the president, if the Senate passed a censure resolution declaring that Trump engaged in insurrection, that might trigger a state to block him from the ballot if he decided to run in 2024.
Trump could then sue, and the courts would have to decide the issue.
Alternatively, Trump could be allowed on the ballot in a state, and an opponent could sue to get him thrown off, which would also get the issue into the courts.
But, Trump could be blocked from holding future federal office based on the notion he committed “insurrection or rebellion” against the United States under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.
Kaine told CNN the resolution will declare that the January 6 riot at the Capitol building "was an insurrection against the Constitution of the United States."
It also will state the finding that Trump "gave aid and comfort to those who carried out the insurrection by repeatedly lying about the election, slandering election officials," and pressuring people to come to Washington during the electoral count.
"This is an alternative that would impose in my view a similar consequence, but it does not require a trial and it does not require a two-thirds vote," he said.
If the Senate supported Sens Kaine and Collins to pass a censure resolution declaring that Trump engaged in insurrection, that could trigger a state to block him from the ballot if he decided to run in 2024.
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