New Court Battle For Trump: Eligibility Challenged

A Florida tax attorney is suing former President Donald Trump in an attempt to bar him from holding public office again, citing the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol incursion, as a “disqualification” listed in the 14th Amendment.

The lawsuit, first reported by The Palm Beach Post, was filed in federal court Thursday by Palm Beach County lawyer Lawrence Caplan.

In it, Caplan argued that Trump is “constitutionally prohibited from seeking a second term as President” and is asking the court to determine if he should even be allowed to participate in the upcoming Florida Republican Party primary scheduled for March 19, 2024.

Caplan explained in an interview with The Hill that he filed that lawsuit because “someone had to take the lead” on challenging Trump’s eligibility to hold office again.

“This is a scary, scary guy, and if he’s president, I think we’re all on the way to fascism,” he claimed. “There’s no law that says we have to remain a democracy forever.”

Caplan clarified in court filings that his lawsuit is not politically motivated and pointed out that in the past 12 presidential elections, he has voted for both Democrats and Republicans and was a registered Independent for some time.

His case relies on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bars any U.S. citizen from holding public office if, “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, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

To summarize: Anyone who has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution, yet is found to have been part of an “insurrection or rebellion” or has “given aid or comfort to the enemies” of the United States, will be barred from holding public office.

The rule was established soon after the Civil War to keep former Confederates out of office and its use has been limited to only a few notable cases since then.

“President Trump’s efforts both in Washington, as well as in Georgia and perhaps other states, as well as the consequential assault on the US Capitol, put Trump at the center of the disqualification clause, and as a result of which, make him ineligible to ever serve in federal office again,” Caplan argued in court filings.

“Now given that the facts seem to be crystal clear that Trump was involved to some extent in the insurrection that took place on January 6th, the sole remaining question is whether American jurists who swear an oath to uphold the US Constitution upon their entry to the bench will choose to follow the letter of the Constitution in this case,” Caplan continued, pointing out that three Supreme Court justices were appointed by Trump.

As he noted, a recent debate among legal experts has suggested that the disqualification clause could be applied to Trump’s case, even if he isn’t convicted of any wrongdoing.

“The mere fact that he has been formally indicted for various felonies including insurrection against the federal government mandates that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment be triggered,” Caplan said.

“The bottom line here is that President Trump both engaged in an insurrection and also gave aid and comfort to other individuals who were engaging in such actions, within the clear meaning of those terms as defined in Section Three of the 14th Amendment,” he added. “Assuming that the public record to date is accurate, and we have no evidence to the contrary, Trump is no longer eligible to seek the office of the President of the United States, or of any other state of the Union.”

Caplan’s lawsuit comes as the former president faces criminal charges for challenging the 2020 election. On Thursday, Trump was booked in Atlanta’s Fulton County Jail and released after posting a $200,000 bond.

Trump’s poll numbers remain far higher than all of his GOP presidential primary rivals.

via westernjournal

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