This can’t happen.
The impending legal dispute concerning former President Donald Trump’s eligibility for the 2024 presidential race is scheduled to reach the Supreme Court in the coming weeks. Ultimately, it will fall upon the justices to determine whether sufficient reasons exist to exclude him from the electoral ballot.
According to Newsweek, the case of John Castro v. Donald Trump, centered on the 14th Amendment and asserting that Trump’s involvement in the January 6 Capitol riot should render him ineligible for future public office, was formally submitted to the court last week. It is scheduled for an official conference on September 26.
While it is not the inaugural lawsuit brought against the former president invoking the U.S. Constitution’s disqualification clause, it stands as the first to put forth the notion that his candidacy could potentially lead to “political competitive injury.”
Castro, previously a supporter of Trump but now a vocal critic after the Capitol attack, is concurrently seeking the 2024 Republican nomination. His argument hinges on the belief that if Trump is permitted to participate in the race, it could place him at a significant “voter and donor disadvantage.” This stems from the fact that both candidates appeal to the same constituency, forcing voters and donors to make choices between the two GOP contenders.
The ultimate decision on whether the Supreme Court will support Castro’s argument remains uncertain. It’s worth noting that a previous case in Florida, which also challenged Trump’s candidacy under the 14th Amendment, was dismissed. The judge’s ruling in that case was based on the plaintiff’s lack of standing to bring the case and the determination that the alleged injuries cited in the lawsuit were not uniquely specific to the plaintiff.
The argument regarding Trump’s disqualification under the 14th Amendment has garnered significant attention and debate, with several op-eds addressing the issue. Notably, one op-ed was co-authored by conservative retired federal judge J. Michael Luttig and liberal law professor Laurence Tribe, suggesting that the clause indeed supports Trump’s disqualification. This viewpoint adds to the ongoing discourse surrounding the legal implications of Trump’s potential candidacy.
According to constitutional attorney Alan Dershowitz, he believes there’s a strong possibility that the Supreme Court will decline to review the case, as he shared with Newsweek.
Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani explained to Newsweek on Monday why it’s unlikely that Castro’s efforts will be successful. He pointed out that Trump has not been formally charged with, let alone convicted of, insurrection or rebellion. While a conviction is not explicitly mandated by the Constitution, Rahmani emphasized that even those involved in prosecuting Trump do not appear to have sufficient evidence to secure a conviction for insurrection or sedition.
Rahmani further noted that Castro would face a formidable challenge in the Supreme Court, given its conservative supermajority, which includes three justices appointed by Trump. This composition makes it less likely for the Court to rule against Trump in such a case.