Florida Attorney Initiates Legal Action To Block Trump’s 2024 Presidential Candidacy

By: Alec Donaldson | Last updated: Oct 23, 2023

A Palm Beach County attorney has initiated one of the initial legal actions aiming to disqualify Donald Trump from the 2024 presidential race based on a provision within the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

"Disqualification Clause"

Lawrence Caplan, a tax attorney from Boynton Beach, submitted the challenge in a federal court located in the Southern District of Florida. He cited the “disqualification clause” within the 14th Amendment, which pertains to individuals involved in insurrections and rebellion against the United States.

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The 14th Amendment

Ratified in 1868 after the Civil War during the Reconstruction era, this amendment addressed various aspects, including the citizenship status of emancipated slaves and the reintegration of formerly seceded Confederate states back into the Union.

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The idea of utilizing the disqualification provision from the 14th Amendment against Trump has gained traction in recent times. Notably, legal scholars, including those from conservative circles, have supported this notion. State election officials have even admitted to discussing how they might respond if such a challenge is presented.

There Are Many Obstacles

However, invoking the amendment to prevent Trump’s inclusion on the ballot encounters substantial legal, constitutional, and political obstacles, according to constitutional scholar Kevin Wagner. He emphasized that while there exists a plausible argument based on the 14th Amendment’s text and the allegations stemming from Trump’s actions on January 6, the practical implementation is more complex. Wagner, a political science professor at Florida Atlantic University, noted that someone must be willing to enforce the disqualification.

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Section 3 Of The 14th Amendment

Section 3 of the amendment specifically addresses disqualification from holding office for any U.S. citizen who, after having taken an oath to support the Constitution, engages in insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or aids and abets its enemies.

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Trump's Actions On Jan. 6

Caplan’s legal filing asserts that Trump’s actions on January 6, 2021, contravened the amendment’s provisions and requests that he be prohibited from seeking the presidency and participating in Florida’s 2024 presidential primary scheduled for March 19.

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The Washington D.C. Indictment

Caplan explained that his interpretation of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment unequivocally supports disqualification as a remedy for accusations of insurrection or interference with the electoral process. He pointed to the indictment in Washington, D.C., brought against Trump by special counsel Jack Smith as an illustration of how Trump allegedly violated the amendment.

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Trump's Violation Of The Clause Is Enough

Caplan and a growing chorus of legal experts argue that the amendment does not necessitate a court conviction; a determination that Trump violated the clause would suffice.

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The Congressional Committee's Overview

They contend that the comprehensive, over 800-page report issued last year by the congressional committee investigating Trump’s involvement in alleged attempts to obstruct the electoral process and his purported incitement of violence on Capitol Hill on that fateful day provide sufficient grounds for disqualification.

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Trump's Disqualification Is An Increasingly Popular Discussion

Caplan’s challenge is among the earliest cases invoking the 14th Amendment against Trump in federal court. Nonetheless, discussions regarding the disqualification of the 45th president have surged in recent days.

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