California Democrats consider unique approach to getting Trump off ballot

By | September 18, 2023

Politico reports:

Democrats in the California Legislature are trying a novel approach to remove former President Donald Trump from the state’s March 5 primary ballot.

But first they need a fellow state Democrat to get on board the long-shot effort.

Nine California lawmakers wrote a letter to Attorney General Rob Bonta over the weekend, arguing that Trump isn’t eligible to be on the ballot for inciting an insurrection when a mob of his supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

The move, which comes amid several lawsuits to keep Trump off state ballots across the country, is unique because Bonta could use his standing as California’s top law enforcement officer to expedite a state court ruling on the matter. Should the effort succeed, California could be the first state to bump Trump off its ballot, even if the ruling is ultimately overturned.

Bonta would also be the country’s first state attorney general to take a swing at knocking Trump off the ballot. The other cases rely on secretaries of state.

Like the suits in other states, the California case would argue that Trump is disqualified from the ballot because the 14th Amendment prohibits any public official who has been party to an insurrection from ever holding office again.

“We all watched in horror Mr. Trump’s insurrection against the United States when he ordered a mob of his supporters to the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021 to intimidate Vice President Pence and the United States Congress,” the lawmakers state in the letter which was obtained by POLITICO.

Bonta’s office said he is reviewing the lawmakers’ request. A spokesperson added, “There is no denying that Donald Trump has engaged in behavior that is unacceptable and unbecoming of any leader — let alone a President of the United States.”

Taking on Trump in such a high-profile way could also bode well for the attorney general’s political ambitions. He’s considering running for governor in 2026, when Gavin Newsom is termed out.

Bonta, as the attorney general, has automatic standing to proactively ask a court for declaratory relief, a process where a judge can quickly rule on an unresolved legal question. The lawmakers asked Bonta for “immediate intervention” on the issue. [Continue reading…]

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