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Some legal experts will be available to provide advice in the days following the Capitol attack of January 6, 2021. Start speculating It is possible that a constitutional provision, which is little known, could be used to prevent President Donald Trump from serving a second presidential term. The 14th Amendment passed after the Civil War included a part, Section 3, which was meant to keep Confederate leaders from Congress. Was the section which disqualified officials that had engaged in “insurrection or rebellion,” Could the Capitol Riot also be used against Trump to stop him from running for President again?

In the lead-up to 2024, attorneys across the country have been trying to make exactly this case—and so far, they haven’t received a direct answer. On Friday, however, a federal court ruled on the merits. After a The landmark trial Sarah B. Wallace, federal district judge in Denver Written A scathing opinion found that Trump had indeed engaged in insurrection. Nonetheless, Wallace decided, he could appear on the Colorado primary ballot, because Section 3’s language isn’t specific enough on the matter of whether it applies to presidents. 

Wallace didn’t mince words about Trump’s behavior on January 6, finding that he acted “with the specific intent to incite political violence and direct it at the Capitol with the purpose of disrupting the electoral certification.” Her damning assessment continued:

Trump fostered a culture of political violence by his constant endorsement. In response to increasing threats of violence and harassment in the run-up to certification, he emphasized his false claims about election fraud. He gathered a large group in Washington, D.C. on the day of certification, informed them about the process, said their country was stolen from them, and called for action. 

After the violence broke out, Trump did nothing, ignored calls to intervene and forced colleagues to postpone the certification for three hours. Then he ordered the dispersal of the crowd, not before praising and endorsing their use of political violence. Evidence shows that Trump was not only aware of the potential for violence but also actively encouraged it. On January 6, 2021 he incited it.

Wallace explained her decision by stating that Section 3 does not name the position of president as one of those to which this amendment applies. The amendment’s language did apply to people who had “previously taken an oath… as an officer of the United States… to support the Constitution.” But because the president’s oath is to “preserve, protect and defend” the constitution—not to “support” it—the president is exempt from Section 3, Wallace determined. 

It’s a narrow, technical ruling—and lawyers for the six Colorado voters who filed the lawsuit said they will appeal, according to the New York Times. Mario Nicolais who is on the voting The legal team told the Times he Was “very pleased” The opinion. (A Trump campaign spokeswoman also praised and added that the Trump campaign campaign. “anticipates the future dismissals of the other 14th Amendment cases.”)

Wallace, among other legal considerations, was aware of the massive consequences of her choice, as well as the possibility that excluding the Republican frontrunner would cause civil unrest. “Part of the court’s decision is its reluctance to embrace an interpretation which would disqualify a presidential candidate without a clear, unmistakable indication that such is the intent of Section 3,” In her decision, she stated that. In New Hampshire and Minnesota, judges dismissed similar lawsuits on procedural reasons, avoiding a decision on the matter. In Michigan, a judge ruled that the questions at the heart of the cause—including the meaning of insurrection—were “nonjusticiable, political” Congress should resolve all issues.

Congress has, of course already weighed-in. While the House of Representatives convicted Trump of a crime of obstruction of justice a month after the Capitol attacks, “incitement of insurrection,” Senate Failure to Reach Two-thirds of the votes required to convict someone.