Should former President Donald Trump run for the White House again, an obscure Reconstruction-era law could keep him off the ballot in six southern states, including North Carolina, Georgia and Florida, because of his incitement of the Jan. 6 insurrection.
The third section of the 14th Amendment prohibits people who swore to defend the Constitution, but who subsequently took part in an insurrection against the United States, from holding state or federal office. Other language in that post-Civil War amendment, though, makes many experts believe that only Congress can enforce the ban, which means Senate Republicans could block any such action.
But the 1868 law that readmitted the six states put the burden on them to keep those who have been involved in insurrections from seeking office — potentially making it considerably easier to keep Trump off their primary and general election ballots.
“It’s still on the books,” said Gerard Magliocca, a law professor at Indiana University who studies the Reconstruction period. He added that the language could help those seeking to disqualify Trump and other candidates who appeared to encourage the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol. “The law is still there. And it could be appealed to.” [Continue reading…]